Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




EPIDEMICS
An avian flu that jumps from birds to mammals is killing New England's baby seals
by Staff Writers
New York NY (SPX) Aug 01, 2012


File image.

A novel avian influenza virus has acquired the ability to infect aquatic mammals and was responsible for an outbreak of fatal pneumonia that recently struck harbor seals in New England, according to scientists at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, New England Aquarium, USGS National Wildlife Health Center, SeaWorld and EcoHealth Alliance.

Wildlife officials first became concerned in September 2011, when seals with severe pneumonia and skin lesions suddenly appeared along the coastline from southern Maine to northern Massachusetts. Most were infants (less than 6 months), and a total of 162 dead or moribund seals were recovered over the next 3 months.

Pathogen screening was conducted in a subset of afflicted seals, using sensitive diagnostic tools developed at the CII, and a new strain of avian H3N8 influenza virus was identified as a culprit.

"When initial tests revealed an avian influenza virus, we asked the obvious question: how did this virus jump from birds to seals?" says Simon Anthony, D.Phil, postdoctoral research scientist at the CII and the lead author of the study.

Based on full genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis, seal H3N8 descended from an avian strain that has been circulating in North American waterfowl since 2002, which implies recent transmission from wild birds to seals.

Accordingly, seal H3N8 has acquired the ability to bind sialic acid receptors that are commonly found in the mammalian respiratory tract.

Mutations in the HA and PB2 genes - required for cell entry and replication, respectively - suggest enhanced virulence and transmission in mammals, but these putative attributes require further investigation. Given these findings along with the long history of the spread of avian influenza to humans-most notably H1N1 and H5N1-seal H3N8 could pose a threat to public health.

"Our findings reinforce the importance of wildlife surveillance in predicting and preventing pandemics, says W. Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity and John Snow Professor of Epidemiology, at the Mailman School of Public Health.

"HIV/AIDS, SARS, West Nile, Nipah and influenza are all examples of emerging infectious diseases that originated in animals. Any outbreak of disease in domestic animals or wildlife, while an immediate threat to wildlife conservation, must also be considered potentially hazardous to humans."

The research was funded by NIH - NIAID (AI057158); Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA); The National Library of Medicine (R01 LM010140); and NIH - NCI (U54 CA121852-05).

.


Related Links
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Epidemics on Earth - Bird Flu, HIV/AIDS, Ebola






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





EPIDEMICS
New bird flu virus killing US baby seals: study
Washington (AFP) July 31, 2012
A new kind of bird flu has been causing deadly pneumonia in baby seals off the northeastern US coast and could pose a risk to humans, according to US research released Tuesday. The new strain has been named avian H3N8, and is blamed for the deaths of 162 seals along the US coastlines last year, said the study in mBio, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. Most of the dead s ... read more


EPIDEMICS
Queen, politicians, Nobel winner named to UN social panel

Sri Lanka navy urges Australia to deport boatpeople

Samurai festival returns to disaster-hit Japan

UNHCR official to visit Rakhine state

EPIDEMICS
Apple, Samsung lawyers spar in court over patents

The Daily iPad news app cuts staff

Microsoft confirms Surface tablet release

Quantifying the Environmental Impact of Structural Materials with B-PATH

EPIDEMICS
Earth absorbs more of our CO2 emissions: science

Spillways can divert sand from river to rebuild wetlands

Coral reef thriving in sediment-laden waters

Delving into the molecular mechanism behind deep-sea bacteria's pressure tolerance

EPIDEMICS
Researchers analyze melting glaciers and water resources in Central Asia

Who owns the North Pole?

China to build first polar-expedition icebreaker

Hidden rift valley discovered beneath West Antarctica reveals new insight into ice loss

EPIDEMICS
Parched fields as drought devastates US crops

Public strongly supports programs helping farmers adapt to climate change

Study: All chickens have Asian roots

Japanese Kobe beef debuts in Hong Kong

EPIDEMICS
Red Cross helps N. Korea flood victims as toll rises

UN heads for flood-hit areas in North Korea

N. Korea forecasts new storm damage after deadly floods

Geothermal activity seen in New Zealand

EPIDEMICS
Mali wives prevent loyalist soldiers' arrest

Panetta to visit North Africa, Middle East

Brother of exiled Rwandan ex-army chief gets 9 years' jail

Mozambique told to tackle crime

EPIDEMICS
Piglets in mazes provide insights into human cognitive development

Genomic study of Africa's hunter-gatherers elucidates human variation and ancient interbreeding

Unprecedented accuracy in locating brain electrical activity with new device

The longer you're awake, the slower you get




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement