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Is It Possible to Predict the Next Pandemic?

submitted by Carrie La Jeunesse

           

A livestock market in India - Omar Sobhani / Reuters

Large initiatives are underway to pinpoint the next big viral threats—but some virologists believe the task is too hard.

theatlantic.com - by Ed Yong - October 25, 2017

It’s been two years since an epidemic of Zika began in Brazil, three since the largest Ebola outbreak in history erupted in West Africa, eight since a pandemic of H1N1 flu swept the world, and almost a hundred since a different H1N1 flu pandemic killed 50 million people worldwide. Those viruses were all known, but no one knew when or where they’d trigger epidemics. Other diseases, like SARS, MERS, and HIV, emerged out of the blue.

Sick of being perpetually caught off guard, some scientists want to fully catalogue all viral threats, and predict which are likely to cause tomorrow’s outbreaks.

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AVMA - Large Animals and Livestock in Disasters

submitted by Carrie La Jeunesse

       

There are unique considerations for horses and other livestock during a disaster. Preparing ahead of time and acting quickly are the best ways to keep you and your animals—pets and livestock—out of danger. Protect your whole family when emergencies arise with the proper supplies, veterinary information, animal identification and an evacuation plan that has been practiced. Whether the threat is a hurricane, wildfire​ or other disaster, lives may depend on being ready.​

CLICK HERE - READ COMPLETE ARTICLE - Large Animals and Livestock in Disasters

 

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Earth's Sixth Mass Extinction Event Under Way, Scientists Warn

Researchers talk of ‘biological annihilation’ as study reveals billions of populations of animals have been lost in recent decades

           

Earth already in midst of sixth mass extinction, scientists say

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - PNAS - Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

theguardian.com - by Damian Carrington - July 10, 2017

A “biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is under way and is more severe than previously feared, according to research.

Scientists analysed both common and rare species and found billions of regional or local populations have been lost . . . 

 . . . “All signs point to ever more powerful assaults on biodiversity in the next two decades, painting a dismal picture of the future of life, including human life” . . . 

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Uptick in Creutzfeld-Jakob Cases Raises Questions

Is chronic wasting disease in deer making the jump to humans?

medpagetoday.com - by MedPage Today Staff - July 10, 2017

Cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the fatal prion disease that's closely related to "mad cow" disease, have risen in Wisconsin and nationally in recent years, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In Wisconsin, there were six cases in 2002, but in two of the last four years, 13 cases have been reported -- which could be attributed to better surveillance, local officials said. Yet the increase tracks with data on chronic wasting disease among deer in the state, raising concerns about whether the illness is jumping from animals to humans.

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CLICK HERE - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Can chronic wasting disease jump from deer to humans? Concerns keep rising

 

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Forbidding Forecast For Lyme Disease In The Northeast

White-footed mice are efficient transmitters of Lyme disease in the Northeast. They infect up to 95 percent of the ticks that feed on them. But it's people who create the conditions for Lyme outbreaks by building homes in the animals' habitat. Stephen Reiss/for NPR

Image: White-footed mice are efficient transmitters of Lyme disease in the Northeast. They infect up to 95 percent of the ticks that feed on them. But it's people who create the conditions for Lyme outbreaks by building homes in the animals' habitat. Stephen Reiss/for NPR

npr.org - March 6th 2017 - Michaeleen Doucleff, Jane Greenhalgh

Last summer Felicia Keesing returned from a long trip and found that her home in upstate New York had been subjected to an invasion.

"There was evidence of mice everywhere. They had completely taken over," says Keesing, an ecologist at Bard College.

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Why Killer Viruses Are On The Rise

       

Once called the "Dutchmen" because of their large noses and large bellies, proboscis monkeys live only in Borneo. Ecosystems that have a lot of diverse animals, like this monkey, also tend to have a lot of diverse viruses.  Charles Ryan

npr.org - by Michaeleen Doucleff and Jane Greenhalgh - February 14, 2017

The next troubling outbreak could come from a rain forest . . . And a big reason why: all the crazy animals that live here.

. . . Wild animals are now refugees. They have no home. So they come live in our backyards. They pee on our crops. Share our parks and playgrounds. Giving their viruses a chance to jump into us and make us sick.

"So it's really the human impact on the environment that's causing these viruses to jump into people," Olival says.

And cause an outbreak? I ask. Or a pandemic, says Olival.

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Superbug Gene Found on Pig Farm

           

FLICKR, RIKKISREFUGE

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae recovered from the environment of a swine farrow-to-finish operation in the United States

Evidence of resistance to a “last-resort” drug for antibiotic-resistant bacteria is discovered among farm animals for the first time.

the-scientist.com - by Ben Andrew Henry - December 7, 2016

Modern agriculture relies on antibiotics to shield livestock from disease, but widespread over-use of antibiotics has raised concerns over creating highly resistant “superbugs.” Researchers announced this week (December 5) that bacteria carrying a rare, dangerous gene for antibiotic resistance have been found in agricultural animals for the first time.

In a study published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, researchers took swabs and fecal samples from a pig farm and discovered bacteria resistant to carbapenems, an important class of antibiotics.

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World on Track to Lose Two-Thirds of Wild Animals by 2020, Major Report Warns

Living Planet Index shows vertebrate populations are set to decline by 67% on 1970 levels unless urgent action is taken to reduce humanity’s impact

       

A victim of poachers in Kenya: elephants are among the species most impacted by humans, the WWF report found. Photograph: imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

CLICK HERE - Living Planet Report 2016

theguardian.com - by Damian Carrington - October 26, 2016

The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020, according to a new report, part of a mass extinction that is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends.

The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020. Researchers from WWF and the Zoological Society of London compiled the report from scientific data and found that the destruction of wild habitats, hunting and pollution were to blame.

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Researchers Develop Model that Predicts Outbreaks of Zoonotic Diseases

Spatial distribution of simulated LAS spill-over events across its endemic region in western Africa for (a) present day, and (b) projected for 2070 under a medium climate and full land cover change scenario. Values represent the expected number of spill-over events per grid cell per year, and are represented on a linear color scale where green is all simulations and grey zero. Axis labels indicate degrees, in a World Geodetic System 84 projection. Filled black circles represent locations of historic LAS outbreaks.  Credit: Redding et al. UCL

CLICK HERE - Predicting disease outbreaks using environmental changes

sciencedaily.com - June 13, 2016

A model that predicts outbreaks of zoonotic diseases -- those originating in livestock or wildlife such as Ebola and Zika -- based on changes in climate, population growth and land use has been developed by a team of researchers.

CLICK HERE -UCL - Predicting disease outbreaks using environmental changes

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Deadly Heartland Virus Is Much More Common Than Scientists Thought

Scientists think the lone star tick (center) likely transmits Heartland disease to people. And the virus probably also circulates in deer and coyotes. iStockphoto; CDC; iStockphoto

Image: Scientists think the lone star tick (center) likely transmits Heartland disease to people. And the virus probably also circulates in deer and coyotes. iStockphoto; CDC; iStockphoto

npr.org - September 16th, 2015 - Michaeleen Doucleff

It's called the Heartland virus disease. Since it was first detected in 2009, there have been only nine reported cases in the Midwest, including two deaths.

So scientists thought the Heartland virus was limited to a small region.

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