Animal health

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1995:

Fifteen thousand cattle have
died so far in Tanzania from an outbreak
of contagious bovine pleuropneumonia––
and it could spread to Zambia, Malawi,
and the rest of southern Africa, United
Nations Food and Agriculture Organiza-
tion animal health officer Peter Roeder
warned on March 29. “Cattle movements
from Uganda and Kenya, sometimes as
result of civil strife, have already caused
major outbreaks in Zaire and Rwanda,” he
Canine distemper is on the
wane in Serengeti National Park, says
Melody Roelke-Parker, chief veterinarian
for Tanzania National Parks––after it
killed 80% of the now rebounding lion

An unidentified disease possi-
bly borne by insects has killed more than
10,000 kangaroos in drought-stricken New
South Wales, Australia, spreading from
the wild to captive animals. The disease
first blinds the kangaroos; they then leap
into rivers and drown, hop in front of
vehicles, are eaten by dingoes, or starve.
A team led by Dr. Keith
Murray of the Australian Animal
Health Laboratory has identified a previ-
ously unknown morbilliform virus, dis-
tantly related to measles, as the source of
a mystery disease that killed 14 horses and
a 49-year-old horse trainer last September.
The virus was isolated just 12 days after
the disease outbreak was noted, but the
findings weren’t published until this April.
U.S. News & World Report
revealed on April 7 that a Swiss chim-
panzee researcher working in Ivory Coast
survived a bout with the Ebola virus in
November––the first human victim since
hundreds died in central Africa from a
1976 outbreak. Outbreaks have afflicted
other primates, including at a Virginia
research center in 1989, as documented in
Michael Crichton’s current best-seller The
Hot Zone.
The National Institutes of
Allergy and Infectious Diseases have dis-
covered that the Lyme disease bacterium
changes its protein coating before being
transmitted from ticks to mammals,
including humans. The finding is expect-
ed to lead to improved Lyme diagnostics.
German researchers Liv Bode
and Hanns Ludwig reported in the March
edition of Nature Medicine that they’ve
found genetic material from the Borna dis-
ease virus, which causes brain damage in
horses, sheep, and cattle, in four human
mental patients, but not in 10 normal peo-
ple, nor in two other mental patients. Of
the patients apparently infected, two had
recurring depression, one was an obses-
sive-compulsive alcoholic, and the fourth
had mood swings and epileptic seizures.
An adenovirus that dropped
the ratio of surviving fawns per 100
d o e s to 13/100 in parts of northern
California and 24-30/100 overall in 1993-
1994 has subsided, says state Department
of Fish and Game biologist Jim Maddox.
The current ratio is 42-50/100. A ratio of
35/100 is believed to be replacement level.
The Beijing Zoo on March 26
announcedthat a February 14 blood trans-
fusion from two captive black bears had
saved the life of Yong Liang, a captive-
born panda, age 28 months, who nearly
died of acute anemia. Other pandas were
not available as blood donors because it
was the height of their breeding season.
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