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24 July 2020

Zoonotic Diseases: Plugging the Source Before the Flood

A whopping seventy-five percent of emerging diseases have been said to be zoonotic, meaning that such diseases can spread from wildlife to humans, an example being our current pandemic consisting of Covid-19 a bat-to-human infection.


23 July 2020

Reduction of Ice Extent in Arctic Region Cause PDV Transmission Between Arctic and Pacific Region

This article focuses on reduction of sea ice extent in Arctic region which is caused by climate change might introduce many diseases that are locked in Arctic to sub-Arctic regions. The virus they track is called Phocine distemper disease (PDV), and it is a pathogen that majorly causes high rate of mortality in European harbor seals of northern Atlantic Ocean.


22 July 2020

The Four Corners Outbreak of 1993

In May, 1993 a 19-year old man suddenly developed shortness of breath while driving through the Four Corners region in New Mexico. He had complained of fever and muscle pain a few days before, but generally was in good health. By the time he pulled over and paramedics arrived, he had gone into respiratory failure and later died from an acute pulmonary edema in the emergency department of Gallup Indian Medical Center.


21 July 2020

Debunked Myths about the Bubonic Plague

The Black Death, believed to have been caused by infection with the bacterium Yersinia pestis, killed about 100 million people worldwide in the fourteenth century. However, there is still much that is unknown about this deadly disease, also known as the bubonic plague, and there are still myths about it that continue to be spread. Even though it wiped out a decent portion of Europe all those years ago, if someone were to contract the disease today it no longer means death thanks to modern medicine.


20 July 2020

Pigs: Mixing pots for influenza

I was recently reading an article on that discussed a new form of swine flu that was recently discovered in China.  The new strain is called G4, and it has come to researcher’s attention after being discovered in Chinese pigs. 


17 July 2020

Research Suggests Leprosy to be a Zoonosis, The Reservoir: Armadillos

Leprosy, renamed Hansen’s Disease, is a chronic condition caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae (M. leprae). The disease primarily targets the skin and peripheral nerves, however new forms of the bacteria have also been found to affect other areas such as the eyes, testicles, and bones. An individual, once infected, typically shows an incubation period of three to seven years.


16 July 2020

Anthrax, a cool band name but devastating to reindeer

Anthrax, also known as Bacillus anthracis, is a gram-positive bacterium that has a very high fatality rate up to 80% when inhaled. This deadly bacterium is now a yearly ticking timebomb in northern Russia every summer, devastating the local wildlife and spreading to humans.


15 July 2020

Tongue worms, they’re not just for reptiles…..humans too!

Tongue worm disease caused by the parasite Linguatula serrata is a blood sucking parasite that belongs to the group Pentastomida. This species generally inhabits the upper respiratory tract of terrestrial, carnivorous vertebrates. It is mainly found in reptiles and bird species.


14 July 2020

Winston Churchill and the Spanish Flu

Winston Churchill is notable one of the most influential people to ever live being recognized for many public policies that he had implemented in England during his time serving in parliament.  What is not talked about to a great detail is how he attempted to establish many policies dealing with certain wildlife diseases such as the Spanish flu.


13 July 2020

A Troubling Site: Mass Death of Botswanan Elephant Population

Since early March, there has been mass death among the elephant population in Botswana. The cause? We don’t know. The Botswanan government has ruled out three causes: poison, poaching, and anthrax. Yet, there has been significant question in the government’s handling of elephant mortality.


10 July 2020

Debunking the alleged connection between Lyme disease and Unrelated Conditions

Lyme Disease, or Lyme Borreliosis is a zoonotic disease caused by the Borrelia genus of Bacteria. This bacteria is usually transferred to a human host by the bite of a tick. Lyme disease can effect the host’s neurology and often results in fever, headache, tiredness, various bodily pains, and in some cases memory loss. Lyme disease has proven to be a major problem in the United States, affecting an estimated 300,000 Americans yearly. 


9 July 2020

Danse Macabre, Not as Fun as it Sounds

Wildlife diseases not only impact the health of humans and animals, but they also play a large role in generating artistic trends. One such trend in, or genre of, art was the Danse Macabre, also known as the Dance of Death. This French term comes from the artistic genre that was seen in 1250 to 1500 CE Europe, during the Late Middle Ages. It symbolizes the fact that the journey of life and death is expired by all, and is a uniting theme despite its morbid tone.  


8 July 2020

The Deadliest Disease that had Claimed Many Lives in the Pre-Columbian Americas

One of the most well-known infectious diseases that had existed throughout history is Smallpox. The Variola virus is the type of virus that is involved in causing this disease. Smallpox tends to spread easily between one individual to another, which makes this disease highly contagious. Fever, vomiting, rashes, body aches, and fluid-filled blisters that are covered with scabs are the kind of symptoms that usually occur among Smallpox infected individuals.


6 July 2020

Viruses as Medicine for Antibiotic-Resistant Bacterial Infections

One of the most groundbreaking medical discoveries has been the development of phage therapy. Phage therapy refers to the use of bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, as a mechanism to defeat antibiotic resistant infections. Phage therapy was first researched due to the fact that, globally, 1.5 million people die from tuberculosis each year. 


2 July 2020

Rabies: What Do You Really Know?

When people think of rabies, they are most likely visualizing an aggressive animal foaming at the mouth and ready to viciously attack any living thing in sight, but is this image always the case?


22 June 2020

Writing about wildlife diseases

It’s that time of year again when I head to rural Pennsylvania to teach a field course in disease ecology for undergraduates at my alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh. 

No it’s not. But it should be.


3 July 2019

Toxoplasma: A Cat-astrophe?

Could your pet cat really be carrying a dangerous disease?

Some people might be afraid of adopting cats due to the fear of contracting Toxoplasma, a disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii which is one of the world’s most common parasites. While this disease is usually correlated to cats it is more often contracted through eating contaminated food.


25 July 2018

Black Lung Disease is Making a Come-Back

This is part of a series of posts from our own Shane Hanlon’s disease ecology class that he’s currently teaching at the University of Pittsburgh Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology. Students were asked to write popular science posts about (mostly) wildlife diseases. Check out all the posts here.  By Victoria Wright Black lung disease is making a come-back. Characterized by shortness of breath and hypoxemia, a recent NPR article explains that not only are …


23 July 2018

The “Lazy” Southerner: Sloth or Anemia?

This is part of a series of posts from our own Shane Hanlon’s disease ecology class that he’s currently teaching at the University of Pittsburgh Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology. Students were asked to write popular science posts about (mostly) wildlife diseases. Check out all the posts here.  By Kausthubha Yaratha Since the postbellum period, Americans south of the Mason Dixon line have been widely stereotyped as lazy and unmotivated. Academics of the 20th …


16 July 2018

Good morning! Bed bugs left you Chagas Disease.

Bugs can be scary. Bugs can be especially scary when they are in your bed.