Bats are disappearing

White-nose syndrome, an emerging and devastating fungal disease, is not just a bat problem, experts say. The disease has killed an estimated 5.7 million bats in the U.S. since it was first detected in 2006. Bats can carry serious zoonotic diseases, but if they disappear, the diseases likely will not. In addition, bats play an important role in their ecosystems, including pollen and seed dispersal and insect control, that would pose new problems if bats were wiped out.

 

Read more at Business Insider.

Cattle quarantined near Yellowstone

Several thousand head of cattle have been quarantined in Montana after a cow near Yellowstone National Park tested positive for brucellosis, the livestock disease much feared by ranchers and also carried by elk and bison, state livestock officials said. The disruption comes at a crucial moment for the region’s beef producers, who are in the midst of readying the bulk of their herds for sale at a time of record high prices for the cattle they bring to auction.

 

Read more from Reuters.

Launch of white paper on vector-borne diseases

The International Federation for Animal Health (IFAH) has launched a white paper on vector borne diseases and their impact on animal and human health, with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The paper, which aims to assist in combating vector borne diseases to promote the better health and welfare of animals for the greater good of protecting animals and humans globally, emphasizes the need to understand the diseases and to spread awareness of the most effective ways of managing and preventing them.

Read more at IFAH’s website.

Veterinarians Issue Advice on Pets That May Have Ebola

Pets that have been in close contact with Ebola-infected people should be quarantined and — if they test positive — euthanized, according to new guidance issued  by The American Veterinary Medical Association. The veterinarians’ group compiled the guidance after a dog in Spain was euthanized because its owner contracted Ebola and a dog belonging to an infected nurse in Dallas was quarantined and then released.

Read more at ABC News.

Creation of Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture

AHI’s Dr. Richard Carnevale was recently named a task force member for a new group on antibiotic resistance in agriculture. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) recently announced the creation of the Task Force on Antibiotic Resistance in Production Agriculture. The task force is comprised of representatives from U.S. agriculture colleges/land grant universities and veterinary colleges as well as key representatives from the production animal agriculture community and the pharmaceutical industry.

Rats and Their Alarming Bugs

Rats living in New York City carry a multitude of zoonotic pathogens, according to Columbia University research published in the journal mBio. Using DNA testing on rats collected from New York City, researchers identified E. coli, Salmonella, Seoul hantavirus, Leptospira and 18 previously unknown viruses with similarities to known zoonotic pathogens.

Read more from The New York Times science section.

Ebola map shows people in more African regions risk infection from animals

A new study suggests the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa could extend far beyond earlier predictions. The researchers used knowledge of species that carry Ebola as well as environmental information to help identify “zoonotic niches” where transmission from animals to humans could occur — something they note is actually a rare event. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed over 2,000 people and infected over 4,000, primarily due to human-to-human transmission, while a separate outbreak in Congo has spread to 30 people.

Read more via Reuters.

Cattle could Protect Butterflies, Conserve Prairies

Butterflies, cattle, and the military may seem like unlikely bedfellows, but for native prairies — some of the most threatened habitats in the world — the trio are closely connected. Scientists at Washington State University, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense and the Center for Natural Lands Management, have established a study in order to see how “working landscapes” might support habitat conservation goals.

Read more at AgWeb.