June 3, 2014

Glow-in-the-dark tool lets scientists find diseased bats and other wildlife health news


Glow-in-the-dark tool lets scientists find diseased bats

Scientists working to understand the devastating bat disease known as white-nose syndrome now have a new, non-lethal tool to identify bats with WNS lesions -- ultraviolet, or UV, light. Millions of bats have died from this rapidly spreading disease and this new method allows for accurate detection of the disease without killing any more bats.

Science Daily
29 May 2014

Cited Journal Article
Gregory G. Turner, et al. Nonlethal Screening of Bat-Wing Skin With the Use of Ultraviolet Fluorescence to Detect Lesions Indicative of White-Nose Syndrome. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 2014; 140522114529005 DOI: 10.7589/2014-03-058

Other White-Nose Syndrome News

To Michigan's animal pathologist, solving wildlife deaths is 'a fun job'

... But while most wildlife enthusiasts would prefer to handle living animals, Cooley has spent the past 35 years up to his elbows in the carcasses of dead deer, waterfowl or other creatures that have met their demise from unknown circumstances. As the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ animal pathologist, Cooley’s job is to solve the mysteries of wildlife death.

... The animals that end up in Cooley’s necropsy lab at Michigan State University come from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Wildlife Services and the public. Sometimes, the cause of death is obvious. For example, an animal found on the side of the road with broken bones and bruises would likely have been hit by a car.

Other times, the answer is not as straightforward.

“You never know what you’re getting into,” said Julie Melotti, Cooley’s lab technician of seven years. “But sometimes you assume something is roadkill and it turns out to be something completely different.”

Cooley and his staff of two veterinarians, two lab scientists and two technicians are responsible for investigating and reporting trends in animal health throughout the state. Their role is to predict the next epidemic and make suggestions for preventing it, if possible.

“Wildlife health and human health, you can’t separate them. They are intertwined,” Cooley said. “The way people can travel and animals can travel, you can have a disease on the other side of the world and all of a sudden you find it in Michigan.”

Detroit News
01 Jun 2014

Genome Sequences Reveal How Lemurs Fight Infection

New technique could aid conservation, disease surveillance

The young lemur named Eugenius started to get sick. Very sick. He was lethargic, losing weight and suffering from diarrhea. Duke Lemur Center veterinarians soon pinpointed the cause of his illness: Eugenius tested positive for Cryptosporidium, a microscopic intestinal parasite known to affect people, pets, livestock and wildlife worldwide.

In humans, thousands of cases of Cryptosporidium are reported in the United States each year, spread primarily through contaminated water.

Since Eugenius was the first animal diagnosed in 1999, the parasite has caused periodic diarrhea outbreaks at the Duke Lemur Center. All of the infected animals are sifakas — the only lemur species out of 17 at the center known to fall prey to the parasite — and most of them were under age five when they got sick.

Despite various efforts to stop the infection, such as quarantining infected lemurs and decontaminating their enclosures, more than half of the sifakas living at the center have tested positive for crypto at some point. While most animals recover, the pattern has veterinarians puzzled over why the outbreaks persist.

Now, thanks to advances in next-generation sequencing technology, researchers are getting closer to understanding how these endangered animals fight the infection and detecting the illness early enough to minimize its spread.

Red Orbit
01 Jun 2014

Cited Journal Article
P. A. Larsen et al. Next-generation approaches to advancing eco-immunogenomic research in critically endangered primates. Molecular Ecology Resources. Ahead of print 29 May 2014. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12274


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