Recent News From the Field

Please Note:

Links shown below should be viable for approximately 30 days past the NWRA posting date. After this time sources may have removed the web page or may have archived the information to another web address.
 

May 2014


Eagle Blood Needed for Research

Megan Trope, a PhD student at OK State University, is requesting a 0.5 ml sample of blood from any bald or golden eagle received for rehabilitation. Submission tubes for the blood and her permit copy can be provided. Her work is to aid in monitoring the genomic health of eagles and how stressors such as lead and wind farms are affecting the population. For information, contact megan.trope@okstate.edu.
 

White Nose Syndrome Now in MI and WI Bats

Unfortunately, white nose syndrome (WNS) continues its westward march and its devastation of native North American bats as both Michigan and Wisconsin just reported their first infected bats within the states. MI article: http://www.woodradio.com/articles/wood-news-125494/dnr-detects-deadly-bat-disease-in-12240804, and for WI: http://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/news/deadly-bat-disease-detected-single-wisconsin-site.

 

April 2014


Veterinarian Interaction Survey

A veterinarian in the Northeast US is seeking information from rehabilitators regarding their interaction with assisting veterinarian(s). The goal is to identify the strengths and weaknesses in this professional relationship in hopes of helping wildlife rehabilitators and the animals for which they provide care. The survey, consisting of only seven questions, is available here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9NRLGYK.

 

March 2014


Bats May Be Starting Recovery from WNS

Scott Darling, biologist with the Vermont Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, who has studied the decline in Vermont's bat populations since white nose syndrome (WNS) started killing tens of thousands almost a decade ago, says he thinks the worst of the epidemic is over and at least one affected species is beginning to recover. Jeremy Coleman, the white nose coordinator for US Fish and Wildlife Service, says biologists in New York have seen similar changes, but in other parts of the country, white nose is continuing to devastate bat populations. Many questions remain about the long-term recovery of affected bat species. Although not scientifically confirmed, this does raise hope at least some bats may eventually experience a population recovery, including a resistance to WNS as European bats exhibit. More details: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/08/6219688/biologist-vermont-bats-begin-white.html.
 

February 2014


Urban Landscapes Increase Illness in Songbirds

Recent research results reported in the online PLoS One journal indicate that the physical presence of humans in cities and the associated altered urban landscape characteristics are associated with increased infections with a virus and a gastrointestinal parasite in the common house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus), a songbird resident of North American cities. Though authors failed to find elevations in urban- or parasite/pathogen-mediated oxidative stress, humans may facilitate infections in these birds via bird feeders (i.e. horizontal disease transmission due to unsanitary surfaces and/or elevations in host population densities) and/or via elevations in other forms of physiological stress (e.g. corticosterone, nutritional). Full manuscript: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0086747.
 

Baylisascaris Found in BC Raccoons

The raccoon roundworm, Baylisascaris procyonis, is widespread throughout North America and commonly affects free-ranging raccoons. Over the period of January 2012 to January 2014, 17 raccoons were submitted to the Animal Health Centre in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada, for necropsy. Nine were juvenile, five were adult, and three were of undocumented age. The animals were free-ranging and had been found dead, injured, or weak and disoriented by members of the public or employees of provincial agencies. Of the 17 raccoons, 12 carried patent roundworm infections (7/9 juvenile, 3/5 adults and 2/3 of undocumented age). In this two-year review, 12/17 raccoons (71%) were carrying the parasite. This agrees with other published infection rates, including those previously found in B.C. Full article http://www.healthywildlife.ca/?p=3272 and overview of parasite http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/8/4/01-0273_article.htm.

 

January 2014


Contribute to Scientific Research

Dr. Balcombe is conducting a study on the impact of recreational fishing equipment on other wildlife. He is requesting information from wildlife rehabilitation facilities for this study. It is widely known by wildlife rescue and conservation professionals that lost or discarded recreational fishing gear poses a risk to other wildlife, but systematic data are limited for documenting the scope and scale of the problem. An easy to complete Excel document for recording the information he is seeking will be sent to you by contacting Dr. Balcombe. Contributors will remain anonymous in his final data presentation.

Jonathan Balcombe, PhD
Executive Director: Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy
Department Chair for Animal Studies
Humane Society University
2100 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
O: 301-258-1482
C: 240-753-2436
www.humanesocietyuniversity.org

Dead Grebes in Utah also Positive for WNV

After testing, the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) has confirmed eared grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) that died in Utah were infected with West Nile virus (WNV). It is likely the scavenging bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) ate the ill or dead grebes, contracting the virus that has killed 54 eagles to date. Four surviving eagles are still in rehabilitation. This is the first time WNV has been found in eared grebes, the NWHC reported, and before this Utah outbreak, the Center has tested 386 eagles for WNV and only 11 were positive. The virus has been reported in over 300 bird species since first identified in the US in 1999. Full article: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57412596-78/utah-virus-eagles-grebes.html.csp.
 

December 2013


Locally Acquired Dengue in NY

The first incidence of locally acquired Dengue infection was just reported in Long Island, Suffolk County, New York [suburb of New York City]. Dengue is transmitted by mosquitoes and local transmission also is reported in southern Florida [23 cases to date] and southern Texas [Cameron County 25 cases, Hidalgo 6, Willacy 1, and increasing].  
http://www.examiner.com/article/dengue-fever-found-suburban-new-york-city.
 

Announcement by the International Society of Infectious Diseases (ISID)

ISID is pleased to announce the 2nd edition of Infectious Disease Manual: Infectious Diseases of Concern to Captive and Free Ranging Animals in North America has been published and is available on the AAZV (American Association of Zoo Veterinarians) website http://www.aazv.org/?page=IDM2013.
 

November 2013


Two New Zoonotic Tick Bacterium Found in California

Researchers found both the Pacific Coast tick (Dermacentor occidentalis) and western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus, also responsible for Lyme disease in CA) are carrying newly discovered zoonotic diseases. The Pacific Coast tick is responsible for transmitting a previously unknown disease related to Rocky Mountain spotted fever named Rickettsia philipii (formerly Rickettsia 364D) and is one of the three primary ticks found across CA. To date, ticks in over 10 CA counties have been found to be infected. Both adult and nymph ticks can be infected and currently there are no human tests available for R. philipii bacterium. The western black-legged tick also is capable of transmitting a newly recognized tick-borne relapsing fever caused by the bacterium Borrelia miyamotoi. More information available at: http://sanramon.patch.com/groups/politics-and-elections/p/new-disease-increases-risk-of-tickbourne-illness-in-california; and, http://www.mtyhd.org/index.php/hd-news-and-events/hd-ph-news/ph-communicable-disease-news/item/health-advisory-rickettsia-philipii; and, http://www.cdc.gov/otherspottedfever/.
 

Significant Increase in Wisconsin Lyme Infected Ticks

A new study at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire found an average of 35 percent of 341 adult female deer ticks collected from 21 counties scattered around Wisconsin from 2010 to 2013 tested positive for the Lyme bacterium. Experts in recent years have begun mapping high-risk areas where the most ticks carrying the Lyme bacterium have been found. Previously, high-risk areas were mapped by reported human cases of Lyme disease, but officials now realize those numbers are unreliable and do not reflect the true extent of risk. In August, the CDC reported the total number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease is roughly 10 times higher than the yearly number of cases reported, so while 30,000 new Lyme disease cases are reported nationwide each year, the actual number is around 300,000. In the UW-Eau Claire study, the Wisconsin counties with the highest infected tick prevalence rates were Chippewa (66.7%); Dunn (44.4%); and Eau Claire (36.5%).The prevalence also significantly increased each year of the research. In 2010, the infected tick prevalence from all 21 counties was 21.6 percent; it increased to 32.4 percent in 2011, 40.9 percent in 2012, and 51.2 percent in 2013. Full details: http://www.jsonline.com/news/health/ticks-bearing-lyme-disease-rampant-in-wisconsin-b99118319z1-228275211.html.

October 2013

Auburn University Using Canine Device to Track Eagles

The Southeastern Raptor Rehabilitation Center made a change from using a telemetry device to triangulate an eagle’s position to using Tagg, which pinpoints the animal’s location. The Tagg device weighs only an ounce [~30 gm] and when using the Tagg app, relays within ten feet the bird’s location to a cell phone. Full article: http://www.oanow.com/news/auburnuniversity/article_62a68e34-2e17-11e3-a906-001a4bcf6878.html.

Outbreak of Raccoon Distemper in Ontario

The Collingwood and Blue Mountain areas of Ontario are experiencing an outbreak of distemper in raccoons that has been ongoing for about six months. Ontario Provincial Province officers have received over 150 calls over the six-month period and have destroyed about 60 animals during that time. The recent weekend of 5 October saw three raccoons euthanized on Saturday alone. More information: http://www.theenterprisebulletin.com/2013/10/07/opp-kill-three-raccoons-for-distemper.

Avian Botulism in Idaho Waterfowl

Six hundred mallard ducks and other waterfowl species in the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area have died in the months of September and October from a botulism outbreak. To contain the outbreak Fish and Game workers have been collecting and promptly disposing of carcasses in the area. No new deaths have occurred in recent days indicating the botulism transmission may have stopped. Details: http://www.idahopress.com/members/avian-botulism-outbreak-kills-birds/article_e9fd9528-3162-11e3-b533-001a4bcf887a.html

 

September 2013

CDC Report on Human Rabies Death in SC

Although this human rabies death occurred in December of 2011, the circumstances surrounding it are of note, as the death easily may have been preventable. Because of these details, this new investigative report by CDC is recommending more education, particularly for those in county health care and diverse non-health care county partners (such as animal control, animal removal, wildlife assistance groups, etc.). This also is a reminder for wildlife rehabilitators that human health issues and cautions always should be considered and relayed to public callers. Full case study: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6232a2.htm?s_cid=mm6232a2_w.


 

August 2013

White-nose Continues to March Westward

White-nose Syndrome (Geomyces destructans) has been confirmed at Soudan Underground Mine State Park and Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Sampling and testing for the fungus at these two parks occurred in 2012 and 2013, but the recent testing found that 4 of the 47 bats sampled were positive for the fungus. If one sees sick or dead bats or bats acting strangely, at MN state parks or elsewhere, please report it as soon as possible using the bat observation report on the DNR website, www.mndnr.gov/wns. Comprehensive WNS information is available at http://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/.

Rabies Update

MA—31 July, a woman visiting Six Flags New England was bitten by a skunk that subsequently tested positive for rabies.
http://www.boston.com/travel/destinations/2013/08/02/mass-officials-warn-rabid-skunk-six-flags/RHufmgnaNBsN6uaIRa0sxO/story.html.

WI—2 August, a woman found a bat with bite marks inside her dog pen indicating her dogs came into direct contact with the bat, which tested positive for rabies. In an unusual quirk of fate, this is the same woman who, as a teenager about nine years ago, was the only person in the US known to survive a rabies infection.
http://www.fdlreporter.com/article/20130802/FON0101/308020167/.

VA—It is believed several young people may have come into contact with an injured or dead bat at the Potomac Lakes Sportsplex in Sterling, VA, on 23 July. Officials are trying to locate the individuals involved.
http://www.wusa9.com/news/article/268749/158/Several-teens-possibly-exposed-to-Rabies-after-touching-bat.

ND—A woman near Montpelier, ND was bitten by a kitten. The kitten was not tested but the person is being treated for presumed rabies exposure. http://www.jamestownsun.com/event/article/id/192090/.

TX—Austin/Travis County Health officials are looking for a man who on 25 July touched or handled a decapitated bat that is presumed to be rabid on the hiking trail near the bat observation area on the south side of the Ann Richards' bridge. http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/austin/officials-look-for-man-who-touched-headless-bat.

FL—A rabies alert has been issued for the Mandarin area by the Duval County Health Department after it was determined a human was exposed to a rabid bat. http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/local/article/321878/3/Rabies-alert-in-effect-for-Mandarin-until-October.

MO—A significant increase in rabies cases, currently at 15-year high, involving mostly infected skunks in the Bootheel region, is causing concern. http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/number-of-rabid-skunks-on-the-rise-in-missouri/article_c9704e95-d2b6-5484-b45d-1e9c30808feb.html

NM Reports Human Case of Plague

The New Mexico Dept. of Health confirmed a case of plague in a 15-year-old teen from Torrance County. Although hospitalized, the youth is in stable condition and Health Dept. personnel are doing an environmental investigation to prevent further human infections. Article: http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/1st-case-of-human-plague-in-NM-is-teen-4726624.php.

New Research in Bat WNS

US Forest Service researchers have identified what may be a key to unraveling some of the mysteries of White Nose Syndrome. Relatives of the fungus (Geomyces destructans) that causes WNS, many of them still without formal Latin names, live in bat hibernation sites and even directly on bats, but they do not cause the devastating disease that has killed millions of bats in the eastern US. Researchers hope to use these fungi to understand why one fungus can be deadly to bats while its close relatives are benign. Full article: http://esciencenews.com/articles/2013/07/25/scientists.identify.key.fungal.species.help.explain.mysteries.white.nose.syndrome.

Plague in Los Angeles County

Broken Blade, Twisted Arrow, and Pima Loops areas of Table Mountain campgrounds in the Angeles National Forest all were closed by officials with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and US Forestry Service after tests confirmed that one ground squirrel trapped on July 16 near these areas tested positive for plague. More details: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-plague-squirrel-20130725,0,3215912.story.

 

July 2013

Demonstration of Wildlife Health Event Reporter

Learn how WHER can keep you up to date on where wildlife health events are being reported in your state,
region, or around the globe through a free webinar demonstration. Example reports made in the last few days are
available here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/wher_reports.
Date: Wednesday, 10 July 2013, 1:00 to 2:00 PM (CDT)
Call Number: 760-569-0800;
Entry code: 314999# (enter the # after numbers)
Webinar URL: https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=1304&password=M.241081C4D816B6A28724685A8BF97F.
If interested in attending, please email us at wher@wdin.org. Installing the Webinar software can take a few
minutes; please visit the meeting URL and set up your computer at least a day prior to this demonstration. If the
meeting room does not open, call Megan Hines at 608-444-9767 so she can assist you before the day of the
meeting.


 

June 2013

Human Food Allergy Linked to Tick Bites

Researchers say bites from the lone star tick (Ambylomma americanum) are making some people allergic to red meat—even if the individual has never had a problem before. The allergic reactions can range from vomiting and abdominal cramps to hives to anaphylaxis, which can lead to breathing difficulties and even death, and can occur in children as well. Unlike most food allergies, the symptoms typically set in three to six hours after an affected person eats beef, pork or lamb—often in the middle of the night. The tick bite precipitating this reaction may have occurred weeks to months prior. An allergist in NY now is seeing several patients a week. Similar reactions have been recorded in Australia associated with the Ixodes holocyclus tick and other meat-allergy cases, linked to other tick species, have been reported in Spain, France, and Sweden. Articles: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/12/tick-bites-are-making-people-allergic-to-red-meat-researchers-say/ and http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324634304578537203916053308.html?mod=e2tw.

 

May 2013

CDC 2012 Human West Nile Virus Illness Summary

In 2012, a total of 5,674 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 286 deaths, were reported to CDC from 48 states, excluding only Alaska and Hawaii. Of all disease cases reported, 2,873 (51 percent) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (e.g., meningitis, encephalitis, or acute flaccid paralysis). The dates of illness onset ranged from March through December 2012. The number of neuroinvasive, non-neuroinvasive, and total West Nile virus disease cases reported in 2012 are the highest since 2003 and the number of deaths is the highest since WNV disease was first detected in the US in 1999. Further information available: www.cdc.gov/westnile.

Cytauxzoonosis in Cat Species

Cytauxzoonosis, caused by the protozoan parasite Cytauxzoon felis, was first reported in the USA in 1976; since then, it has become an important emerging infectious disease in domestic cats. The domestic cat is considered an aberrant or dead-end host given the often acute and fatal course of disease; however, there are reports of domestic cats surviving natural infection with and without treatment. The natural host is the bobcat (Lynx rufus) that typically experiences subclinical infection and maintains chronic parasitemia. C. felis infection has been reported in several other wild felids, such as cougars and panthers, in the absence of overt disease; however, a few lions and tigers have been reported to succumb to the illness. Recent studies demonstrate that C. felis can be transmitted by the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum. The distribution of this tick parallels the distribution of cytauxzoonosis in domestic cats much more closely than does the distribution of the other competent vector, the American dog tick, Dermacentor ariabilis. Newspaper article: http://www.wsmv.com/story/22071509/tick-borne-disease-threatens-domestic-cats and further information on Cytauxzoonosis disease: http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/circulatory_system/blood_parasites/cytauxzoonosis.html.

Manatee and Dolphin Deaths in Florida

Since the start of 2013, dolphin (Delphinidae spp.) and Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latrilostris) deaths in Brevard County, FL Indian River Lagoon are twice the rate of last year. There have been 30 dolphin deaths, and other than the animals being skinny, no common thread of illness or disease has been found. Since July of 2012 through April of 2013, 100 manatee deaths have occurred. Multiple agencies, including NOAA, FL Fish & Wildlife, and Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute are monitoring the situation and doing testing in an effort to determine the cause of the deaths. Further details: http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/30-dolphins-dead-indian-river-lagoon/nXj4J/.
 

New AVMA Euthanasia Guidelines Document Available

The updated 2013 AVMA Guidelines for Euthanasia of Animals is available as a free download on the AVMA website. This link takes you to the page where you can select type of download you wish: https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/Euthanasia-Guidelines.aspx?utm_source=smartbrief&utm_medium=email.


Depressed Economy Affecting Disease Surveillance

This news article is just one example of how states are having to eliminate funding for multiple programs at all levels [also occurring at the federal level] in order to manage diminishing income. This also may have negative impact on the release of current disease information pertinent for wildlife rehabilitators, leaving them unaware of what is happening with wildlife species in their area.
http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/04/29/tick-diseases-a-concern-as-state-drops-tracking.html.

 

April 2013

Texas Working on Ban of Carbon Monoxide Use for Euthanasia

A bill banning the use of carbon monoxide for domestic pet euthanasia has passed the Texas Senate and is now going to the House. There is the potential rehabilitators also could be impacted by this new legislation if it passes and becomes law. http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/texas_lege/senate-passes-ban-on-gas-euthanasia-for-pets.
 

Illinois Beaver Deaths

The die-off of seven North American beavers (Castor canadensis) in 2012-13 in and along McCullough Creek at the Urbana, IL Meadowbrook Park is being attributed to tularemia. This also means that other wildlife in the area, such as squirrels and rabbits, may be infected with tularemia. Tularemia can be transmitted to humans [and pets] through direct contact with an infected animal and by ticks, biting flies, and other insects. Full story
http://www.news-gazette.com/news/environment/2013-03-17/environmental-almanac-tularemia-suspected-beaver-deaths.html.
 

White-nose Syndrome Confirmed at Fern Cave, AL

The Service confirmed the presence of white-nose syndrome at Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge in Jackson County, AL. This is of special concern as Fern Cave provides winter hibernation habitat for several bat species, and contains the largest documented wintering colony of the federally listed endangered gray bats (Myotis grisescens), with over one million gray bats hibernating there. The disease was confirmed in tri-colored bats (formerly eastern pipistrelle, Perimyotis subflavus) collected at two entrances to the cave. Details: http://whitenosesyndrome.org/news/wns-confirmed-fern-cave-national-wildlife-refuge-alabama.

 

 

March 2013

Human Rabies Vaccine Still Restricted

Rabies vaccine supplies remain restricted in the US. Vaccine produced by Sanofi Pasteur (IMOVAX), is currently available for post-exposure prophylaxis only. Vaccine produced by Novartis (RabAvert) continues to be available for pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis. This status is not expected to change moving into the Spring. The CDC continues to monitor the rabies vaccine supply status and updates are posted to: http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/resources/availability.html.

Free Book: Veterinary Wildlife Care Basics

The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association prepared the handbook, Wildlife Care Basics for Veterinary Hospitals, in response to veterinary offices requesting information about how to temporarily treat and care for injured and orphaned wildlife. Because the needs of wildlife are so different from those of domestic animals, it became clear there was a wide information gap that needed to be filled. The book is a free downloadable PDF file that you can share with area veterinarians to improve wildlife treatment before the animal reaches you. Further information: http://www.discoverhsvma.org/hsvmawildlifewpfacebook.

 

February 2013

Distemper in Canada Coyotes

Six juvenile coyotes (Canis latrans) have been found dead or very sick since November 2012 and necropsies have confirmed the distemper virus, said wildlife veterinarian Trent Bollinger, of the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Centre at the University of Saskatchewan Western Veterinary College. Further information: http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/Canine+distemper+found+city+coyotes/7894778/story.html.
 

January 2013

Manitoba Rabies in Wildlife

For the first time in seven years, a skunk tested positive for rabies after attacking a dog in Winnipeg, Canada. Residents are urged to keep pets rabies vaccinations current and maintain boosters as recommended. Details: http://www.chrisd.ca/2013/01/17/winnipeg-animal-services-agency-rabies-dog-bitten-animals-vaccination/.
 

Expansion of Bat WNS in KY

Although bat White-nose Syndrome in Kentucky has been confirmed in the past, this is the first report of WNS in Mammoth Cave National Park. A northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) displaying symptoms of WNS was found in early January 2013 in Long Cave. Long Cave is an undeveloped 1.3 mile long cave and is the park's largest bat hibernaculum, housing endangered Indiana bats (Myotis sodalist) and gray bats (Myotis grisescens), along with other non-threatened species. Long Cave is not connected to Mammoth Cave and has not been open to visitors for more than 80 years. Additional information: http://www.wfpl.org/post/deadly-bat-disease-found-mammoth-cave-national-park.
 

Wisconsin DNR Looking for Rehabilitators

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR, Madison) is looking for applicants with experience in wildlife rehabilitation, wildlife health, and captive wildlife industry to serve on a new wildlife rehabilitation council. The group will advise the DNR on wildlife rehabilitation and captive wildlife matters, as well as implement educational programs and help the DNR inspect wildlife rehabilitation facilities. For position description or to apply, visit http://dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “rehab.”
 

December 2012

Veterinary Guide for Wildlife

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has developed a free downloadable or printable PDF wildlife patient flow chart. The chart is only one page, has live links incorporated if accessed online, and a section for you to fill in state and federal wildlife authorities’ phone numbers for the veterinarian to use. This is an excellent resource for your area veterinarians and as an AVMA produced document, most likely carries more weight. For best results, getting this directly to the veterinarian(s) rather than to office staff or receptionists is recommended. Available at: https://ebusiness.avma.org/EBusiness50/ProductCatalog/product.aspx?ID=451&utm_source=smartbrief&utm_medium=email.
 

November 2012

Birth Control in Gray Squirrels

Due to a warm winter and a resulting boom in nuts, the small mammals' population is spiking, especially on the East Coast, in the Northeast, and in the Midwest. But despite their cute exterior, the squirrels can wreak havoc on their surroundings, devouring farmers' crops, chewing into building wires, and stripping bark; damaging, if not killing, trees outright. Thanks to decades of contraceptive research for species such as white-tailed deer, tempting squirrels with contraception-laced sunflower seeds is the route researchers at South Carolina's Clemson University plan to investigate for population control. Article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/10/121024-squirrels-birth-control-animals-weird-science/.
 

Lyme Disease Research

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center are searching for the bacterial genes that make Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, so invasive and persistent. If the research is successful, it could improve diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, which infects up to 30,000 Americans annually. Overview article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121025174140.htm and PLOS One full scientific paper: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0047532.
 

September 2012

Human Rabies Vaccine Availability

Per CDC announcement on September 7th, rabies vaccine for pre-exposure use is available only from wholesale distributors who have existing stocks of RabAvert® vaccine from Novartis. Sanofi Pasteur, maker of IMOVAX rabies vaccine, currently is unable to supply rabies vaccine for pre-exposure vaccination. Novartis, makers of RabAvert® rabies vaccine, also currently is unable to supply vaccine for pre-exposure vaccination. Additional lots of RabAvert® and IMOVAX are expected to be released in the coming months and this release should return supplies to normal levels. Full alert details: http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/resources/news/2012-09-07.html.
 

2011 Rabies surveillance in the US

Highly recommended reading for all NWRA members, this report in the September 15 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association is most informative for rehabilitators, educators, and those in veterinary medicine. While rabies in wildlife (where, which rabies virus variant, and what wild species) is addressed, rabies in all other animals, both domestic and wild, and rabies in humans during 2011 also is illuminated. Brief notes on rabies in Mexico and Canada, and in the first half of 2012 are included. Review of this article allows one to give current and accurate answers to questions from the public, volunteers, or others about rabies and you can refer others to this free-access article as well.
http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/full/10.2460/javma.241.6.712.
 

Usutu Virus in Germany

Originating from Africa during the summer of 2011, Usutu virus is the cause of mass die-offs in blackbirds (Turdus merula) in southwest Germany. Again this summer [2012] thousands of blackbirds have died. Usutu virus was found in Culex pipiens mosquitoes in Germany and the virus may be transmitted to humans through a mosquito bite. The virus first appeared in Europe in the Vienna area in 2001 and included some deaths in great gray owls (Strix nebulosa) in addition to the blackbirds; in 2009, two immunocompromised Italians became infected. The first human case of Usutu virus infection in Germany has been confirmed. The affected man, from Gross-Gerau (Hesse), indicated he has experienced no symptoms of illness. More details: http://www.promedmail.org, click on Search to the right, enter Usutu virus
 

Test of New Oral Rabies Vaccine

A new oral rabies vaccine developed in Canada is being tested in Ohio and five other US states (NC, PA, TN, VA, and WV) with the hope of virtually eliminating rabies in wildlife. Ohio has been using the Raboral V-RG to control the spread of raccoon rabies, said Dr. Kathleen Smith, the state's veterinarian for the Department of Health. It has worked well, she said, but she hopes the Canadian vaccine, ONRAB, will produce better results. The new vaccine has been successful in Canada, according to World Health Organization standards, which calls for no cases of rabies to be reported in two or more years. No cases of raccoon rabies have been reported in Quebec or Ontario in the two-year span, and raccoon rabies in skunks has been eliminated as well. ONRAB baits also are smaller than Raboral V-RG, and they are better. More information: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2012/08/new_oral_rabies_vaccine_target.html

 

July 2012

Injectable Meloxicam Shortage

University Laboratory Animal Resources (Ohio State University) is reporting an eminent shortage of injectable meloxicam with manufacturers indicating no further supply available until the end of 2012. Meloxicam in tablet form is not reported in short supply for the future. Check with your veterinarian for further information and other products he/she may recommend.
 

Canada: Canine Distemper in Raccoons

During the month of June raccoons sick with canine distemper have been appearing in Winnipeg and Headingley, including around the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, and Corydon Avenue area. Details: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/Raccoons-with-canine-distemper-spotted-in-city-161580795.html.
 

West Nile Virus May Cause Chronic Kidney Disease

Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, and the University of Texas Health Science Center found a correlation between human infection with West Nile virus and subsequent kidney disease. Summary of research: http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1112656006/west-nile-virus-may-cause-chronic-kidney-disease/ and full research report in PLoSOne: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0040374.


CWD Found in Iowa Deer

The first report of chronic wasting disease in an Iowa deer has been confirmed. The deer was located on a hunting preserve in Davis County. More information: http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/blogs/163226856.html.
 

Rabies Confirmed in Deer

Deer with rabies in both LaVale, Maryland and Davidson, North Carolina reported in the month of July.
Maryland: http://wvmetronews.com/maryland-deer-positive-for-rabies-2/
North Carolina: http://davidsonnews.net/blog/2012/07/17/rabid-deer-found-near-kimberly-rd/.
 

Ramsar Wetland Disease Manual

This 361-page manual has excellent information in multiple areas for all wildlife rehabilitators regardless of species handled as not only are avian, mammalian, and herptile diseases covered, but also fish and invertebrates. There are links to numerous other organizations, resources, and national and international disease and informational websites. In fact, there is something unique or interesting on almost every page of the publication. The disease factsheet listing shows what animals are affected (including humans if applicable), what type of wetland habitat the disease occurs, and level of impact. In each factsheet, the disease is described, along with the causal agent, method of transmission and spread, identification and response, prevention and control methods, and global importance in terms of effects on wildlife, livestock, and humans, and economic importance. A lengthy listing at the end of each section and disease factsheet provides many other resources and informational citations. An index at the rear by subject matter greatly assists finding information quickly. The entire manual is available free online at: http://www.ramsar.org/pdf/lib/rtr7-disease.pdf.
 

NH Veterinary Laboratory Newsletter

The New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory produces a newsletter containing pertinent facts for the northeast area of the US. The current issue has articles on ticks and Lyme disease and blastomycosis, caused by the infectious mold from Blastomyces dermatitidis. This link allows you to access past and current newsletters: http://www.nhvdl.unh.edu/quarterly-newsletter.
 

Killing Bats Does Not Stop Rabies

Killing vampire bats in a bid to curtail the spread of rabies to humans and livestock may make the problem worse, scientists said. The practice of "vampiricide" in which a poisonous paste is applied to captured animals who then spread it to others in mutual grooming back in the roost, does not reduce rabies prevalence, they contend and may, in fact, increase it. "We detected something that is a little bit worrying," team leader Daniel Streicker of the University of Georgia said of the study conducted in Peru from July 2007 to October 2010 by a team from the United States and Peru."In areas that were sporadically culled during the course of the study, we saw an increase in the proportion of bats exposed to rabies," he said. Colonies that were never culled had the lowest prevalence. Full article: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gYfZyfR2JNVl_hBmhfVUzNPrl9og?docId=CNG.b2371552eed6d000aa85ebc4c2e4bc6b.b11.