Monday, March 01, 2010

Mangy Raccoon

Here are pics of what is apparently a raccoon with a bad case of mange, caught in Oklahoma.


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ticks & Disease

An interesting article on tick-borne diseases here.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Retrovirus and CFS

A newly discovered retrovirus may (or may not) be involved with chronic fatigue syndrome. (News source.)

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Another Mangey Coyote?

A man in Bandera County, Texas, shot what appears to be another coyote with mange. (News source.)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's Still Got Mange...

But will wonders never cease, a "chupacabra" that turns out not to be a dog or fox...


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Virus X an Arenavirus

A mystery haemorrhagic fever that killed three people in South Africa has been identified as an arenavirus. While not specifically identified, it may be related to Lassa fever and is probably rodent-borne.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Rabies Survivor

Scientific American has an interview and article on the only known case of rabies survival without medical intervention. (News source.)


Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Kind of looks like a mangy coyote..."

Two "mystery animals" shot in Terryville, Texas. (News source.)

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008


An albino whale shark was photographed off the Galapagos islands. (News source.)

A mangey fox was photographed in New York. (News source.)

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Texas Hairless Canine

Might as well be the state mammal. (Or state disease.) Some DeWitt County Sheriff's deputies photographed what looks like a short-limbed hairless dog, so obviously it must be a chupacabras. (News source.)

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Yucca Valley Canid

A strange canine seen in Yucca Valley, California, is likely a mangy coyote. (News source.)

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Chimps Catch Human Virus

Chimpanzees at Mahale Mountains National Park (Tanzania) are suffering from a respiratory disease that is likely a variant of a human paramyxovirus. The apes are "human-habituated," and may have caught the virus from scientists or tourists. (News source.)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Parasite for Waterfowl

A myxozoan parasite has been found in waterfowl here in the US, the first time a typically "cold-blooded" parasite has been found in "warm-blooded" animals. (News source.)

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bat Disease Spreading

White-nose syndrome continues to kill bats in New York and Vermont. Not much is known aboudt the disease, including whether humans (particularly cavers) are helping to spread it or if it is a potential health hazard to humans. (News source.)

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Panda Outbreak

A parasitic disease has dramatically risen in wild populations of the giant panda. As the panda population density grows, it creates a situation where a new disease could be particularly devastating. (News source.)

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

New Ebola Virus

The CDC has identified a new strain of Ebola, from western Uganda. This is the fifth known strain. (News source)

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Leeches and Salamanders

A new vector is reported for infections in certain newt populations:

"Parasite-carrying bloodsucking leeches may be delivering a one-two punch to newts, according to biologists, who say the discovery may provide clues to disease outbreaks in amphibians.
"The findings could also lead to a better understanding of diseases affecting humans, such as malaria, chagas disease and sleeping sickness. All these diseases are transmitted through a vector, an organism that spreads disease from one animal to another.
"The researchers found evidence for leech-borne transmission of a little-known fungus-like organism of the genus Ichthyophonus, which infects the muscles of red-spotted newts and other amphibians in North America. It does not appear to kill amphibians but might affect their ability to reproduce. 'This is the first evidence that newts are getting infected through the bites of leeches,' said Thomas R. Raffel, a postdoctoral researcher at Penn State's Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, and the study's lead author.
"Early infections in the newts appear as clusters of small dark dots under the skin, which can later develop into a large area of swollen muscle. The swollen muscle contains many spores (also called spherules), each of which contains hundreds of infectious cells called endospores. Raffel and his colleagues think that the infection is transmitted when one of these spores bursts open and releases its endospores onto the mouthparts of a feeding leech. Their findings are outlined in the January issue of Journal of Parasitology." ...

"Raffel, whose work is funded by the National Science Foundation, says 'when a leech sticks its proboscis into an infected newt, either the mechanical action of the probe or the anti-inflammatory chemicals injected by the leech, could be used by the parasite as a cue to release its packet of spores. The spores could then latch on to the leech's proboscis, and the infection would be passed along to the next newt the leech bites.'
"The researchers point out that Ichthyophonus might not be as contagious as other leech-transmitted amphibian parasites. That is because this particular parasite lodges itself in muscle tissue instead of blood. A leech would have to be feeding right on top of a newt's infected muscle in order to transmit the infection. However, it is still unclear if the spores are multiplying within the leech, or simply ferrying on its proboscis.
"Even though the infection is not fatal to the newts, it could affect their numbers, says Raffel. 'When newts get infected, they often stop breeding, apparently to shore up their immune system to fight off the disease. But that comes at the cost of having fewer offspring,' he adds."