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.

University of Minnesota announces One Health Workforce

The University of Minnesota (U of M) is leading a new $50 million effort to train a people around the world to prevent pandemics. It’s called the One Health Workforce. According to John Deen, one of the One Health Workforce project leads, and a professor of Veterinary Epidemiology at the U of M, “We need a One Health Workforce that accounts for the different aspects of diseases spreading and in turn being controlled.” What makes this effort unique is that it is not only doctors, nurses and public health workers who will be trained but also veterinarians, all working together to address emerging infectious diseases.

Read more at KARE11.

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.

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.