Surveillance with Stable Isotopes

ABSTRACT

Stocking pen-raised northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) into habitats inhabited by wild bobwhite is a widespread practice, yet no technique other than marking exists to distinguish between these birds when they are harvested or recaptured. We assessed the potential of stable isotope analysis of primary feather tissue to distinguish between wild and pen-raised bobwhite. We obtained 104 feather samples from 3 game farms and 3 hunters in New Jersey, USA, collected between 1998 and 2006. We analyzed all samples for isotopes of carbon13C/12C, nitrogen15N/14N, sulfur34S/32S, and a preliminary sample for hydrogen2H/1H. Combinations of isotopic ratios of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur yielded unique patterns for the 2 groups, enabling us to form a significant function that discriminated between these groups 100% of the time. The function was influenced most by the isotopic ratios of nitrogen and carbon. We were unable to discriminate between age classes or sex within groups, but could discriminate among farms and between years for the one farm where we had 2 years of samples. In our pilot study, stable isotope analysis of primary feather tissue was a reliable technique for distinguishing wild and pen-raised bobwhite for 12–14 months following postjuvenal or postnuptial feather molt. Summer stocking, feeding stations, or long-term survival of pen-raised birds would reduce the efficacy of this technique, depending upon the definition of a wild population. © 2017 The Wildlife Society.

Castelli P and L Reed 2017 Use of stable isotopes to distinguish wild from pen-raised Northern Bobwhite. Wildlife Society Bulletin. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wsb.746/full

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Ehrlichiosis may be under-reported in NJ

From the abstract: The lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum, is a vector of Ehrlichia chaffeensis and E. ewingii, causal agents of human ehrlichiosis, and has demonstrated marked geographic expansion in recent years. A. americanum ticks often outnumber the vector of Lyme disease, Ixodes scapularis, where both ticks are sympatric, yet cases of Lyme disease far exceed ehrlichiosis cases. We quantified the risk for ehrlichiosis relative to Lyme disease by using relative tick encounter frequencies and infection rates for these 2 species in Monmouth County, New Jersey, USA. Our calculations predict >1 ehrlichiosis case for every 2 Lyme disease cases, >2 orders of magnitude higher than current case rates (e.g., 2 ehrlichiosis versus 439 Lyme disease cases in 2014). This result implies ehrlichiosis is grossly underreported (or misreported) or that many infections are asymptomatic. We recommend expansion of tickborne disease education in the Northeast United States to include human health risks posed by A. americanum ticks.

Read more here at EID ! NOTE: There is a Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit available (1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 ) upon participation in activity with this article. See the first page of the article for more information.

Reducing ticks by targeting hosts

Ixodes scapularis, taken by James Occi.

Ixodes scapularis, taken by James Occi. This was a photo used for the cover of of the book, “Lyme Disease: Why it’s spreading, how it makes you sick and what to do about it” by Alan Barbour.

From the Abstract: We describe a 2-yr trial to evaluate the ability of SELECT Tick Control System (TCS) host-targeted bait boxes to reduce numbers of host-seeking Ixodes scapularis nymphs in a residential neighborhood. After four successive 9-wk deployments, nymphal and larval I. scapularis infestation prevalence and intensity were significantly reduced on target small mammals. In addition, these deployments resulted in 87.9% and 97.3% control of hostseeking nymphs in treatment sites at 1 yr and 2 yr postintervention, respectively. Installation of a protective metal cover around the SELECT TCS bait boxes eliminated nontarget wildlife damage to bait boxes that resulted in failure of previous bait box types. The results are discussed in the context of the residential environment and future research needs.

Schulze T, R A Jordan, M Williams and M C Dolan 2017 Evaluation of the SELECT tick control system (TCS), a host-targeted bit box, to reduce exposure to Ixodes sxapularis (Acari: Ixodidae) in a Lyme disease endemic area of New Jersey. Journal of Medical Entomology, https://doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjx044

Recent Developments

Dr. Fonseca will attend a Strategic meeting of the Worldwide Insecticide resistance Network (WIN) that will be held in Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL, from May 04-05, 2017. This meeting is supported by the WHO Research & Training program on Tropical Diseases (TDR) and the Department of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and the US-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC).

A proposal entitled “Predicting the evolution of vector-borne disease dynamics in a changing world” by Dr. Fonseca was top rated in the NSF DEB Ecology of Infectious Diseases panel (five “excellent” and one “very-good”) and recommended for funding. Using Next-Generation genomics we will generate one of the first comprehensive datasets detailing the evolutionary potential of the major players in a complex multi-host disease system: avian malaria in endemic Hawaiian birds transmitted by invasive mosquitoes. Our results will help mitigate the anthropogenic impacts associated with invasive species and climate change, and can be translated directly into practical management recommendations. This 4 year $2,498,876 project is slated to start on July 2017.

A grant on”Climate Change, Nuisance Mosquito Populations, and Long-term Resilience of Coastal Salt Marsh Systems” was awarded to the Center for Remote Sensing & Spatial Analysis (CRSSA), the Center for Vector Biology (CVB) and the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve (JCNERR) plus in collaboration with state and county mosquito agencies.

Controlling The Elusive Tiger in Your Backyard

tigercontrol

This container mosquito and vector of many arboviruses, including Zika, is not easy to control given it’s often cryptic habits. The diagram above illustrates the many strategies that could be employed to minimize the impact of this and other container species. Read more of Ary Faraji and Isik Unlu’s paper in the Journal of Medical Entomology describing the pros and cons of the various control techniques for this invasive species.

 

In memoriam Karl Maramorosch (1915-2016)

Maramorosch_KarlKarl Maramorosch passed away on May 9 in Poland while visiting friends. An eminent virologist, entomologist and plant pathologist, Karl was a wealth of information, always willing to talk and often in many languages. His kindness and dedication were unparalleled. He was often the first to arrive in the Entomology Department despite being well into “retirement.” This unique scholar will be sorely missed and our condolences to his friends and family.

His obituary by Professor Gaugler, a Celebratory Tribute and his Wikipedia page. Below is a Vimeo video with Karl before one of the Maramorosch Seminars:

Zika Information Exchange

Members from the Children’s Health Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Health System and Ruzikacdctgers University, including Dina Fonseca, met with Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey’s 6th District (D) to discuss the current state of understanding about the epidemiology and ecology of the Zika virus. This fact-finding mission for the Congressman is in anticipation of hearings that Congress will be holding, including those of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that Congressman Pallone seats. Up for discussion in these congressional hearings are a proposed $1.8 billion dollars of emergency finding proposed by President Obama in the upcoming fiscal year. For more information, see: https://pallone.house.gov/press-release/pallone-hosts-discussion-public-health-experts-highlight-zika-concerns as well as information from the HEC committee: https://democrats-energycommerce.house.gov/newsroom/press-releases/as-zika-crisis-grows-committee-seeks-urgent-briefings-from-government-health