Tag Archives: sam scheiner

Controlling the Spread of Diseases Among Humans, Other Animals and the Environment

New NSF-NIH-USDA-BBSRC grants fund research on how infectious diseases are transmitted

West Nile virus, Lyme disease and hantavirus are all infectious diseases spreading in animals and in people. Is human interaction with the environment somehow responsible for the increase in incidence of these diseases? (more…)

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Precautions for Tick-Borne Disease Extend “Beyond Lyme”

Save the tick that bites you: it may not be the one you think

This year’s mild winter and early spring were a bonanza for tick populations in the eastern United States. Reports of tick-borne disease rose fast.

While Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, new research results emphasize that it is not the greatest cause for concern in most Southeastern states.

The findings are published today in a paper in the journal Zoonoses and Public Health. (more…)

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Blood Samples Show Deadly Frog Fungus at Work in the Wild

Pathogen leads to dehydration, other ill effects

The fungal infection that killed a record number of amphibians worldwide leads to deadly dehydration in frogs in the wild, according to results of a new study.

High levels of an aquatic, chytrid fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) disrupt fluid and electrolyte balance in wild frogs, the scientists say, severely depleting the frogs’ sodium and potassium levels and causing cardiac arrest and death. (more…)

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Close Family Ties Keep Microbial Cheaters in Check, Study Finds

*Experiments on “slime mold” explain why almost all multicellular organisms begin life as a single cell*

Any multicellular animal, from a blue whale to a human being, poses a special challenge for evolution.

Most of the cells in its body will die without reproducing; only a privileged few will pass their genes to the next generation.

How could the extreme degree of cooperation required by multicellular existence actually evolve? Why aren’t all creatures unicellular individualists determined to pass on their own genes? (more…)

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West Nile Virus Transmission Linked with Land-Use Patterns and “Super-spreaders”

*Spread highest in urbanized and agricultural habitats*

After its initial appearance in New York in 1999, West Nile virus spread across the United States in just a few years and is now well established throughout North and South America.

Both the mosquitoes that transmit it and the birds that are important hosts for the virus are abundant in areas that have been modified by human activities.

As a result, transmission of West Nile virus is highest in urbanized and agricultural habitats. (more…)

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A Tale of (More Than) Two Butterflies

*Appalachian tiger swallowtail butterfly is hybrid of other swallowtails*

Flitting among the cool slopes of the Appalachian Mountains is a tiger swallowtail butterfly that evolved when two other species of swallowtails hybridized long ago.

It’s a rarity in the animal world, biologists have found.

They discovered that the Appalachian tiger swallowtail, Papilio appalachiensis, evolved from mixing between the Eastern tiger swallowtail, P. glaucus, and the Canadian tiger swallowtail, P. canadensis. (more…)

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Biodiversity Loss: Detrimental to Your Health

*Infectious diseases on the rise as species disappear*

Plant and animal extinctions are detrimental to your health.

That’s the conclusion of a paper published in this week’s issue of the journal Nature by scientists who studied the link between biodiversity and infectious diseases. (more…)

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