January 9, 2012

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


ProMED Archive# 20120104.0021: Avian influenza: China (Hong Kong) H5N1

Black-headed gulls test positive for H5 virus

A spokesman for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) said today (3 Jan 2012) that 2 dead black-headed gulls found in Tuen Mun and Lantau have tested positive for the H5 avian influenza virus in preliminary testing, adding that further confirmatory tests are being conducted.

The 1st gull was collected at EcoPark, 133 Lung Mun Road, Tuen Mun, on 30 Dec 2011 while the 2nd one was found at a drain near Sha Lo Wan Soccer Pitch, Lantau, on 1 Jan 2012.

ProMED Mail - promedmail.org
03 Jan 2012
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Location: Hong Kong, China - Map It

More Avian Influenza News

Bald Eagles Dying Of Lead Poisoning

On a frozen Washington County field partially covered in snow, bald eagle number 11-694 was found motionless and barely breathing.

The landowner placed it in a box and brought it to Carlos Avery Wildlife Area where the mature eagle was quickly taken to the Gabbert Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.

“This was an acute lead poisoning. This bird didn’t live more than a few days after it ingested this poison,” said Dr. Pat Redig, co-founder of the Raptor Center.

...In fact, of the 29 bald eagles admitted last year, only one survived the lead poisoning to be released back into the wild.

CBS Minnesota - minnesota.cbslocal.com
03 Jan 2012
Location: Washington Cty, Minnesota, USA - Map It

Another outbreak of coral disease hits the reefs of Kane'ohe Bay, O'ahu

In March 2010 an outbreak of a disease called acute Montipora White Syndrome (MWS) was discovered affecting coral reefs in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu.... It was estimated that over 100 colonies of rice coral (Montipora capitata) died during that initial outbreak.

The disease has reappeared and is killing corals in Kaneohe Bay. The current outbreak has already affected 198 colonies and a rapid response team led by Dr. Greta Aeby (HIMB) has been activated to document the outbreak.

...Aeby observes that coral disease outbreaks were predicted to occur more frequently on reefs from chronic human stressors and global climate change, she states "it appears that these predictions are becoming a reality for the reefs of Kaneohe Bay.

EurekAlert - www.eurekalert.org
05 Jan 2012
Location: Hawaii, USA - Map It

Photo courtesy of The Guardian's feature The Week in Wildlife
More on Fish Disease in Canada
More on marine animal deaths in Gladstone, Australia
Year of the Bat!

January 6, 2012

In the Spotlight: OIE Training Manual on Wildlife Diseases and Surveillance

Training Manual on Wildlife Diseases and Surveillance: Workshop for OIE National Focal Points for Wildlife
World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) Working Group on Wildlife Diseases

From the Manual Forward: "This Training Manual on Wildlife Diseases and Surveillance was prepared by Dr F.A. Leighton from the OIE Collaborating Centre for Wildlife Disease Surveillance and Monitoring, Epidemiology and Management, under the auspices of the OIE Working Group on Wildlife Diseases. It can be used in training workshops, with a view to providing practical advice on wildlife diseases and surveillance and facilitating an interactive working session for participants."

The table of contents of this 56-page manual include:

  • Definition of 'wildlife'
  • The socio-economic importance of wildlife pathogens and diseases
  • The ecology of pathogens and diseases
  • Emerging diseases and wildlife
  • Pathogen transmission
  • Reservoirs of infectious pathogens
  • The basic reproductive number (‘R’) - A measure of pathogen transmission
  • Interventions to manage pathogens and diseases in wild animals
  • Components of a national wildlife disease programme
  • Wildlife disease surveillance

January 5, 2012

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


State investigating deaths of 16 swans in Westborough

State biologists are unsure what caused the death of about 16 swans near Mill Pond late last month, but say it is unlikely the cause would be harmful to humans.

...Police say a caller reported seeing five to six dead swans floating in Mill Pond on Dec. 17. A total of 16 dead swans were located in the area, said Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife spokesman Reggie Zimmerman.

“The USDA Wildlife services have taken tissue samples (of the dead swans) and we’re waiting for some test results to come back,” said Heusmann “My suspicion would be it’s some sort of virus, but that’s total guesswork. We do know that they’re not being shot.”

...“I couldn’t totally rule out lead poisoning,” said Heussmann. “And botulism tends to be a warm weather disease, but there is the possibility.”

The MetroWest Daily News - www.metrowestdaily.com
04 Jan 2012
K Welch
Photo court
esy of MetroWest Daily News
Location: Westborough, Massachusetts, USA - Map It

[Mass death of birds discovered in east China Hebei][In Spanish]
Translation disclaimer

All were magpies were separated at a distance, many of the trees hung alone or in groups of two or three.

More than 100 dead birds, all magpies were found in plantations near Lake Hengshui in Hebei Province in eastern China. The bodies were hanging from trees.

The cause of death is unknown...await the outcome of investigations.

According to the publication "Yachzho dushibao" dead magpie found everywhere along 200 meters. The bodies of the birds were separated by a distance although in some places two or three together.

His eyes are open, legs spread open and without injury to the body. The local zoologist suggested that the cause of death of birds could be food poisoning which stressed the neighbors....

The Epoch Times - www.lagranepoca.com
28 Dec 2011
A Gubin
Photo courtesy of Epoch Times
Location: China - Map It

Herring galore as tonnes of fish wash up on beach

[Contributed by a Digest Reader!]

It was like Whisky Galore - except with fish. Locals taking a stroll at Kvennes beach in northern Norway were in for a surprise as they discovered a carpet of over 20 tonnes of dead fish covering the shoreline.

Fortunately, the low winter temperatures in the Nordesia region of Norway mean that the smell isn't too unbearable, according to dog-walker Jan-Petter Jorgensen, who took this photo.

Jens Christian Holst of the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research is hoping to conduct tests on the fish to ascertain if they died as a result of disease. Other possibilities include being driven into shallow waters by predators, washed ashore during a storm, or even affected by freshwater flowing into the bay from a nearby river. "I have never seen such large amounts of stranded herring," said Holst.

New Scientist - www.newscientist
03 Jan 2012
A Purcell
Photo courtesy of Reuters/Jan-Petter Jorgensen/Scanpix)
Location: Norway - Map It

More Fish News
>>>Fish deaths dredge up Great Barrier Reef heritage row
[Gladstone, Queensland, Australia - Map It ]

>>>Whirling disease found in Strawberry Reservoir
[Utah, USA] [Update: previous article mapped here]

Photo courtesy of The Chronicle Herald
Deer Disease News

"Happy Birthday Endangered Species Act"
...38 years ago Richard Nixon signed into law the Endangered Species Act (ESA)... Currently, there are ~1,990 species listed under the ESA.

January 4, 2012

Wildlife Disesae Journal Digest

Browse complete Digest publication library here.

Emergence of Mammalian Species-Infectious and -Pathogenic Avian Influenza H6N5 Virus with No Evidence of Adaptation
J Virol. 2011 Dec;85(24):13271-7. Epub 2011 Oct 12. doi: 10.1128/​JVI.05038-11
JH Nam et al.

Phylogenetic analysis of H6 influenza viruses isolated from Rosy-billed Pochards(Netta peposaca) in Argentina reveal the presence of different HA gene clusters
J Virol. 2011 Dec;85(24):13354-62. Epub 2011 Oct 5
A Rimondi et al.

Patterns of coral ecological immunology: variation in the responses of Caribbean corals to elevated temperature and a pathogen elicitor
J Exp Biol. 2011 Dec 15;214(Pt 24):4240-9. doi: 10.1242/​jeb.061267
CV Palmer et al.

Novel genetic reassortants in H9N2 influenza A viruses and their diverse pathogenicity to mice
Virol J. 2011 Nov 4;8:505. doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-505
Y Bi et al.

Analysis of a nonautonomous model for migratory birds with saturation incidence rate
Communications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation. 2012 Apr; 17(4): 659-1672
Y Zhang et al.

Serologic evidence of West Nile Virus in wild ducks captured in major inland resting sites for migratory waterfowl in South Korea
Vet Microbiol. 2011 Dec 29;154(1-2):96-103. Epub 2011 Jul 2.
JY Yeh et al.

The effect of neighbourhood definitions on spatio-temporal models of disease outbreaks: Separation distance versus range overlap
Prev Vet Med. 2011 Dec 1;102(3):218-29
SW Laffan et al.

Extended-spectrum beta-lactamases producing E. coli in wildlife, yet another form of environmental pollution?
Front. Microbio. 2011; 2:246. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2011.00246
S Guenther et al.

The meaning of death: evolution and ecology of apoptosis in protozoan parasites
PLoS Pathog. 2011 Dec; 7(12):e1002320. Epub 2011 Dec 8.
SE Reece et al.

Emerging Infectious Diseases - January 2012
Volume 18, Number 01

Trending Now: Using Social Media to Predict and Track Disease Outbreaks
Environ Health Perspect. 2012; 120:a30-a33. doi:10.1289/ehp.120-a30
CW Schmidt

Models predict that culling is not a feasible strategy to prevent extinction of Tasmanian devils from facial tumour disease
Applied Ecology. 2011 Dec; 48(6): 1315-1323
N Beeton and H McCallum

Estimating probabilities of active brucellosis infection in Yellowstone bison through quantitative serology and tissue culture
Journal of Applied Ecology. 2011 Dec; 48(6): 1324–1332. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02058.x
JJ Treanor et al.

Risk of contact between endangered African wild dogs Lycaon pictus and domestic dogs: opportunities for pathogen transmission
Journal of Applied Ecology. 2011 Dec; 48(6): 1345–1354. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02059.x
R Woodroffe1 and CA Donnelly

Ixodid ticks of road-killed wildlife species in southern Italy: new tick-host associations and locality records
Exp Appl Acarol. 2011 Nov;55(3):293-300. Epub 2011 Jul 5
V Lorusso et al.

Wildlife in a Changing Climate [pdf]
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. pp.1-124
Forestry Papers. Rome, 2012
Ed. E Kaeslin et al.

Animal Health Australia: Animal Health Surveillance Quarterly Report - 01 July to 30 September 2011 [pdf]
Volume 16, Issue 3
- Avian paramyxovirus in pigeons [pp. 3-5]
- Australian Wildlife Health Network [pp. 6 - 8]
- Aquatic Animal Health [pp. 8 - 9]

January 3, 2012

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


Thurmond Lake toxin again threatens eagles: Experts try to halt outbreak at lake [Avian vacuolar myelinopathy]

A bird-killing neurotoxin linked to the aquatic weed hydrilla re-appeared this fall at Thurmond Lake, where at least one dead eagle has been recovered in Lincoln County.

“We have been doing some preliminary eagle and waterfowl survey work and have seen fairly high numbers of both,” said Ken Boyd, a conservation biologist with the Army Corps of Engineers.

... University of Georgia scientists studying the disease visited the lake recently to observe bird activity and test captured birds for AVM.

“We have recovered a number of sick coots during this period, and there are thousands in the area all feeding on hydrilla,” Boyd said. “Unfor­tu­nately, with the low lake levels, more hydrilla is exposed and available.”

The first confirmed eagle death this season occurred the day before Thanksgiving. A Georgia Wildlife Resources Division official found the dead bird near Cherokee Boat Ramp.

The possible remains of a second dead eagle, a pile of feathers, were found earlier this month at Bussey Point, where a number of dead or dying eagles have been recovered in past years.

The Augusta Chronicle - chronicle.augusta.com
28 Dec 2011
R Pavey
Photo courtesy of The Augusta Chronicle
Location: Lincoln County, Georgia, USA - Map It

Red tide causes fish kill in Lee County

Dead fish are washing up on Bunche Beach because of red tide. The latest water samples from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission show there is a large patch of red tide just south of Sanibel Island.

"There's a lot of dead fish. It's really nasty. [There are] eels, horseshoe crabs, it's sick," said Skippy Svitil of the Sanibel Sea School.

...The bloom has also changed, from one large 30 mile long patch, to millions of smaller ones from southern Lee County south to Key West.

NBC 2 - www.nbc-2.com
28 Dec 2011
Location: Bunche Beach, Florida, USA - Map It


Recently Added Postings to the Digest's Professional Announcements Page

UN of Florida - Aquatic Systems and Environmental Health Online Course
Aquatic Systems and Environmental Health is an online course that provides an overview of aquatic resources including oceans, estuaries, rivers, lakes, streams and ponds, with focus on respective biotic communities and environmental health. [Registration deadline is Jan 06, 2012.] Registration information can be found HERE.

American Bird Conservancy Lead Campaign Manager [Job Position]
American Bird Conservancy (ABC), an international bird conservation organization, is seeking a dynamic, entrepreneurial leader to manage the ABC 'Get the Lead Out' Campaign in its office in Washington, DC. Application information can be found HERE.

For more announcements visit the Professional Announcements page located at the top of the Digest website. As shown in the image above, the page link is highlighted with a red box.

Photo courtesy of The Guardian feature 'The Week in Wildlife'

Huh?! That's Intersting!
How Beavers Helped to Build America

December 30, 2011

Holiday Break - No News Digest

The News Digest will take a brief break over the New Year holiday. There will be no regularly scheduled News Digest beginning Friday, 12/30 through Monday, 01/02. The Digest will return on Tuesday, January 03.

The staff of the Wildlife Data Integration Network would like to extend thanks to our Digest readers and warm wishes for a happy New Year.

As always, we appreciate the wildlife health related news, journal articles and professional announcements you pass along to us. Keep emailing your submission to us at digest@wdin.org.

December 29, 2011

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


H5N1 found in 2nd dead bird in Hong Kong

Hong Kong authorities say a second dead bird in a week has tested positive for a dangerous strain of bird flu, raising health concerns in the city.

The agricultural department said Friday that lab tests confirmed an Oriental magpie robin found dead on Dec. 17 was infected with H5N1 avian influenza.

... The Oriental magpie robin is commonly found in Hong Kong.

CBC News - www.cbc.ca [Source: Associated Press]
23 Dec 2011
Photo courtesy of CBC News
Location: Hong Kong, China - Map It

Scientists test sick Alaska seals for radiation

Scientists in Alaska are investigating whether local seals are being sickened by radiation from Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Scores of ring seals have washed up on Alaska's Arctic coastline since July, suffering or killed by a mysterious disease marked by bleeding lesions on the hind flippers, irritated skin around the nose and eyes and patchy hair loss on the animals' fur coats.

Biologists at first thought the seals were suffering from a virus, but they have so far been unable to identify one, and tests are now underway to find out if radiation is a factor.

Water tests have not picked up any evidence of elevated radiation in U.S. Pacific waters since the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which caused multiple fuel meltdowns at the Fukushima plant and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate the surrounding area.

Environmental News Network - www.enn.com
28 Dec 2011
Photo courtesy of Environmental News Network

Chronic Wasting Disease Found in San Juan Deer Hunting Unit

A deer infected with chronic wasting disease has been found in a new area of Utah. That's not a surprise, though, the new area is next to an area where the disease has been for years.

Technicians at the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Logan have finished testing tissue samples taken from more than 1,200 deer, elk and moose this fall.

...One of the deer that was taken on the San Juan deer hunting unit in southeastern Utah tested positive for the disease. This is the first time a deer from the unit has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).

KCSG Television - www.kcsg.com
26 Dec 2011
M Hadley
Location: San Juan, Utah, USA - Map It

More Deer Disease News

>>> Deer test positive for chronic wasting disease [Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, USA - Map It - ]

>>>ProMED: Epizootic hemorrhagic disease, cervids [Archive #20111226.3680] [Virginia, USA]

Scientists hopeful in fight to stop bat die-off

Scientists studying the mysterious ailment that has killed millions of bats in an epidemic that is spreading its way across North America say they have detected a tiny sliver of hope in their search for a way to end what has become known as white nose syndrome.

...In New York, biologists have found that some bats at Fort Drum exposed to white nose are reproducing.

"While it's still too early to make any long-term conclusions from the recent Fort Drum white nose study, the Department of Environmental Conservation is encouraged over the finding that some bats can survive and reproduce despite exposure to the syndrome during winter hibernation over two consecutive years," said DEC spokesman Rick Georgeson.

...Darling said there are three basic hypotheses about the survivors that will be studied: Are the bats behaving in ways that keep them from getting infected? Are they from areas that haven't been infected? Could they have some genetic resistance to white nose that is just beginning to appear?

Matteson said that while the survivors are good news, much needs to be done to protect the survivors and make it possible for them to reproduce. One method being tried is the use of special bat boxes where the bats would be able to roost in the summer and keep warm when raising their young.

The Republic - www.therepublic.com
20 Dec 2011
Location: Vermont, USA

More Bat News


Ringing in the New Year with Some Good News about Wildlife

December 28, 2011

Wildlife Disease Journal Digest

Browse complete Digest publication library here.

Experimental infection of bats with Geomyces destructans causes white-nose syndrome
Nature. 2011 Dec 15; 480: 376–378. doi: 10.1038/nature10590
JM Lorch et al.

Natural population die-offs: causes and consequences for terrestrial mammals
Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 2011 [Epub ahead of print]
EI Ameca y Juarez et al.
[Related news article here]

Tularemia in Alaska, 1938 - 2010
Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica. 2011; 53:61. doi:10.1186/1751-0147-53-61
CM Hansen et al.

Seropositivity and Risk Factors Associated with Toxoplasma gondii Infection in Wild Birds from Spain
PLoS ONE. 2011; 6(12): e29549. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029549
O Cabezon et al. (2011)

Exposure of Eurasian magpies and turtle doves to West Nile virus during a major human outbreak, Greece, 2011
European Journal of Wildlife Research. 2011; [Epub ahead of print]
G Valiakos et al.

H4N8 subtype avian influenza virus isolated from shorebirds contains a unique PB1 gene and causes severe respiratory disease in mice
Virology. 2011; [Epub ahead of print]
VN Bui et al.

Consideration of an International Society for One Health (ISOH) [pdf]
Chatham House. 2011 July: 1-7
M Jeggo and J Mackenzie

Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine - December 2011
Volume 42, Number 04

Avian Diseases - December 2011
Volume 55, Number 04

Predictability of anthrax infection in the Serengeti, Tanzania
Journal of Applied Ecology. 2011 Dec; 48(6): 1333-1344. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02030.x
K Hampton et al.

Varying Responses of Northeastern North American Amphibians to the Chytrid Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis
Conservation Biology. 2011; [Epub ahead of print]
MK Gahl et al.

An ecological and comparative perspective on the control of bovine tuberculosis in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland
Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 2011; [Epub ahead of print]
CM O'Connor et al.

Raccoons in Europe: disease hazards due to the establishment of an invasive species
European Journal of Wildlife Research. 2011; [Epub ahead of print]
B Beltran-Beck et al.

A Connection between Colony Biomass and Death in Caribbean Reef-Building Corals
PLoS ONE. 2011; 6(12): e29535. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029535
DJ Thornhill et al.

Occupancy, colonization and extinction patterns of rabbit populations: implications for Iberian lynx conservation
European Journal of Wildlife Research. 2011; [Epub ahead of print]
P Sarmento et al.

December 27, 2011

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


Science team identifies influenza virus subtype that infected five dead seals

Risk to humans and pets low; tests continue

A virus similar to one found in birds but never before in harbor seals was the cause of five of 162 recent deaths of the animals in New England, according to a group of federal agencies and private partners.

This Influenza A virus subtype, H3N8, appears to have a low risk of transmission to humans. Experts continue to analyze this virus, and any findings of public health significance will be immediately released.

...“The work that NOAA and its partners have done to help identify and confirm the virus strain H3N8 in these animals has been an important first step in the investigation into this event,” said Dr. Teri Rowles, lead veterinarian and coordinator of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Program for NOAA Fisheries Service. “We are now conducting tests on additional animals to learn more about the role this virus may have played in the die-off and to better understand the virus itself.”

Experts believe that Influenza A virus caused a bacterial pneumonia which was responsible for the death of the five seals. Most terrestrial animals infected with the previously known H3N8 virus suffered upper respiratory infections, and most recovered.

NOAA Northeast Regional Office - www.nero.noaa.gov
20 Dec 2011
Photo courtesy of NOAA
Location: New England region, USA - Map It

More News on Seal Mortality Events

Catching a Coral Killer: First ever case of human-caused marine disease

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Sutherland has identified the first marine disease caused by humans, and it's proving fatal for Elkhorn coral in Florida.

The disease is White pox, which causes a slowing of growth, followed by white patches of tissue loss that occurs all over the coral colony.

Many diseases, such as swine flu, avian flu and HIV are known as zoonotic, moving from animals to humans. Sutherland has identified a marine disease that is a "reverse zoonosis."

"This is the first example of a human pathogen infecting a marine organism," she says.

National Science Foundation - www.nsf.gov
19 Dec 2011

Location: Florida Keys, USA

Little brown bats found that appear to resist disease that has devastated species

There is good news from Vermont this Christmas for the little brown bat, a threatened species that’s hanging on to existence “by a tiny little fingernail,” said a state conservationist who’s watched them die by the millions in the Northeast from a mysterious disease.

Scientists who visited more than a dozen sites where the bats nest in the western part of the state found thriving colonies that appear to be resistant to white-nose syndrome, a disease caused by an aggressive fungus.

Pennsylvania biologists are also monitoring about 2,000 bats that appear to be healthy in an abandoned coal mine in Luzerne County in the state’s northeast, the Associated Press reported.

Washington Post - www.washingtonpost.com
21 Dec 2011
D Fears
Location: Vermont and Pennsylvania, USA

More Good News for Bats!


Amphibian Health News
Avian Influenza News
LinkHuh!? That's Interesting

December 21, 2011

Holiday Break - No Journal or News Digest

The News Digest will take a brief break over the Christmas holiday. There will be no regularly scheduled Journal Digest or News Digest beginning Wednesday, 12/21 through Monday, 12/26. The Digest will return on Tuesday, December 27.

The staff of the Wildlife Data Integration Network would like to extend thanks to our Digest readers and warm wishes for a happy and safe holiday season.

As always, we appreciate the wildlife health related news, journal articles and professional announcements you pass along to us. Keep emailing your submission to us at digest@wdin.org.