THE OUTBREAK

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With West Africa’s Ebola epidemic passing the 1-year mark, two new reports yielded details about factors that fueled the event, including bats in a hollow tree that may have infected the index patient, a young Guinean child, and a silent chain of transmission that caused the disease to flare again in May after cases had sharply dropped off. Also today, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its Ebola numbers, saying there have… Read More

The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC), Western and Northern Region, recently had two interesting big brown bat submissions. One bat had been submitted to a rehabilitation facility in October 2013 after being found on the ground by members of the public in Saskatoon. She had bruising around her shoulder and was described as “bitey” when being handled. The second bat was found in a local church on January 10th, 2014, captured in… Read More

Bats are a major source of lyssaviruses. An international team of scientists, led by Dr Greg Moseley and Professor David Jans from the Monash School of Biomedical Sciences, has identified a novel vaccine strategy against lyssaviruses that cause rabies in animals and humans. Each year, over 60,000 people worldwide die from rabies following lyssavirus infections. There are 15 known species of lyssaviruses, including Australian bat lyssavirus and rabies virus, which are commonly… Read More

The Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown is examining the third bat found this winter on P.E.I. with white-nose syndrome. That makes two years in a row the deadly fungus has been discovered on bats on the Island. The fungus grows on the animal’s nose, waking them up from hibernation and forcing them into the cold where, unable to find food, they die. “These bats are very helpful to us by eating forest… Read More

After taking an in-depth look at the basic biology of a fungus that is decimating bat colonies as it spreads across the U.S., researchers report that they can find little that might stop the organism from spreading further and persisting indefinitely in bat caves. The aptly named fungus Pseudogymnoascus (Geomyces) destructans causes white-nose syndrome in bats. The infection strikes bats during their winter hibernation, leaving them weakened and susceptible to starvation and… Read More

More evidence that wildlife health is linked to human health: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/bat-immunity-over-malaria-parasites-could-could-be-key-to-human-vaccines-says-top-scientist-8864829.html