Monthly Archives: February 2015

California birds appear to be link in Lyme disease chain

Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, was found in blood samples from 23 out of 53 avian species tested in Mendocino County, Calif., according to research published in PLOS One. Some 30,000 people become infected with Lyme disease every year in the U.S., according to estimates, and the bird research suggests a new link in the chain of transmission. The study suggests “the potential for bird-mediated geographic spread of vector ticks and spirochetes,” said the paper. Borrelia bissettii, which causes Lyme-like disease in parts of Europe, was also found in some of the birds. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)/Science Now blog (2/25)

Cold, snow keep Tufts wildlife veterinarians busy this season

Veterinarian Florina Tseng of Tufts University’s wildlife clinic says the winter is usually a bit slower for wildlife cases, but cold and heavy snow this year are keeping things busy. Birds and other wild animals are being displaced by storms and frozen bodies of water, so they are starving, freezing or being preyed upon by other animals. Dr. Tseng said cases are up by 50% for the year. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.)/The Associated Press (2/25)

Llamas, alpacas could hold secret to fighting HIV/AIDS

Researchers recently discovered that antibodies produced by llamas in response to HIV have the capacity to neutralize over 95% of HIV strains. Alpacas produce similarly potent antibodies, the researchers say. Although the findings are preliminary and more work is needed, the findings suggest another possible way to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, which kills some 2 million people annually. CNBC/Global Post (2/23)

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Study zeroes in on cause of American bald eagle deaths

Researchers have determined that the toxic cyanobacteria causing the deaths of American bald eagles is new to science, and they have named it Aetokthonos hydrillicola. The researchers linked the cyanobacteria to avian vacuolar myelinopathy, which has killed at least 160 bald eagles since the mid-1990s. The findings were reported in the journal Phytotaxa. (2/19)

Reports of illness tied to Chinese-made jerky pet treats down

Reports of illnesses caused by pet jerky treats manufactured in China have dropped sharply, according to the FDA. The agency recorded 270 complaints from May to September of last year, while it logged 1,800 in the seven months prior. The slowdown means the agency will begin issuing reports annually instead of twice a year, but efforts to identify the cause of the illnesses continue, according to the FDA: “The agency continues to devote significant resources to its investigation, and will post non-routine updates if notable events occur.” The Plain Dealer (Cleveland

some of this likely is due to major pet store chains refusing to sell them (Petsmart, Petco)

Bovine leukemia virus gene segment detected in human breast tissue

submitted by Cenz Lau, Market Researcher at Scientific Research Publishing, Top Contributor

Bovine Leukemia Virus (BLV) is known by infections in bovine cattle and produce, in 30% of infected animals, persistent lymphocytosis significantly impacts the beef industry. It has been proposed that this virus could be transmitted to humans and be present in cases of breast cancer. Aim: to determine the presence of 380 bp of gag gene segment of BLV in paraffin-embedded breast tissue. Study Design: Control-case study. Methodology: 106 tissue samples were collected. 53 were cancer positive samples and 53 were negative samples for this pathology. After dewaxing tissues, DNA was extracted, amplified and sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis was done in order to verify BLV gene segment, presence and origin. Results: 43 samples were positive (40.5%) for BLV segment. In the case group this segment was found in 35.8% of the samples and in the control group, BLV presented in 45.2% of the samples. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed BLV presence and had shown a high homology between amplified gene sequences obtained from human breast tissues and those coming from bovine cattle with leukosis reported by GenBank. Conclusion: The presence of BLV genes in humans and its location in breast tissue can be confirmed, however, it should be clarified as a possible promoter of malignancy processes on this tissue.

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