A novel approach to deforestation may also offer a pandemic safety net

A novel conservation group in western Borneo offers healthcare services and training in sustainable farming to curb illegal logging. In the process, the group may have come up with a blueprint to stop diseases from making the deadly leap between wildlife and people, Brian Barth writes in FERN's latest story produced with Popular Science. (No paywall)

Selective breeding of tilapia can reduce need for antibiotics

Work by two USDA molecular biologists shows that tilapia, a commonly consumed food fish in the United States, can be selectively bred for resistance to two types of streptococcosis bacteria. Fish farmers frequently turn to antibiotics to fight diseases such as strep in farm-raised tilapia.

Climate change, linking abnormal weather and abnormal illness

An epidemic of West Nile virus, spread by mosquitos, that killed 19 people and hospitalized 216 in Dallas in 2012, "might seem like random bad luck," says the New York Times Magazine, the unlikely result of a mild winter, warm spring and the heaviest early rainfall in 10 years. But Robert Haley, director of epidemiology at Texas Southwestern Medical Center, "doesn't think of it as an accident. He considers it a warning."

Poultry breeder culls Alabama flock that might have bird flu

After tests suggested bird flu in a poultry flock in northern Alabama, the poultry breeding company Aviagen culled the flock and removed from its production line eggs that originated from the farm, says Reuters. The flock was one of three potential outbreaks of bird flu and followed discoveries across the state line in Tennessee a week earlier.

Imports implicated in small but growing share of food illness outbreaks

Fish and produce are the imported foods associated with the most outbreaks of foodborne illness, say researchers who studied four decades of records. In a study published in the CDC journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, the scientists say imports were cited for an average of three outbreaks a year during 1996-2000, or 1 percent of outbreaks, and an average of 18 outbreaks per year from 2009-14, or 5 percent.

Climate change may spread marine diseases northward

Rising water temperatures in the world's oceans can expand the range of marine diseases into new regions, says researcher Charlotte Eve Davies at The Conservation website.

Nearly a decade before new animal disease lab is ready

"It will be nearly another decade" before the mammoth National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Kansas goes into operation, says Drovers CattleNetwork, reporting on a presentation at a veterinarians' conference.

Many livestock antibiotics will soon need vet approval

A large number of the medically important antibiotics given to cattle, hogs and poultry now sold over the counter to livestock producers will come under veterinary control in the next couple of years, says the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Virulent Asian-American strain of PEDv confirmed in Ukraine

The highly virulent Asian-American strain of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus was found on a 5,000-sow hog farm in Ukraine, says ThePigSite. It says some 30,000 piglets died on the farm "in a matter of weeks" and cites concern the virus could spread into Europe.

Success in deer vaccination against chronic wasting disease

Medical researchers say they developed a vaccination against chronic wasting disease in deer, a fatal brain infection similar to mad cow disease that affects deer, elk, caribou and moose.

Pew: Loopholes allow “injudicious” livestock antibiotics use

The FDA program to phase out use of antibiotics as a growth promotant in food animals "may allow some injudicious uses to persist," says the Pew Trusts' Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming.

Hog farmers to see most profitable year ever

"The most profitable year on record" for hog producers "will be 2014 with estimated profits of near $55 a head," says economist Chris Hurt of Purdue.

Hunger spreads in the ebola zone

Rampant hunger is appearing in Liberia, one of the west African nations hit by ebola, says Mother Jones magazine. It cites a spot check by Mercy Corps, a charity, of three parts of the country heavily affected by the disease.

Antibiotics may help disease spread in infected animals

Research into mice infected with salmonella, a bacteria often the cause of food-borne illness, poses "ominous questions about the widespread, routine use of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics in livestock," says the Stanford Medical School.

Fructose tolerance tests and sugar consumption

Researchers at a Boston Hospital discovered a hormone that could be the basis for a "fructose tolerance test," says Harvard University, which could identify people at risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Pig blood in feed is unlikely to spread deadly hog disease

The World Organization for Animal Health says pig blood products are unlikely to spread the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus when used as a feed ingredient.

Encroachment, climate change risk to forest diversity-FAO

Half of the forest species - trees, shrubs, palms and bamboo - routinely used by countries around the world are threatened by climate change, over-exploitation and encroachment by pastures and farmland, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

USDA requires reporting of PEDV outbreaks

In a step to protect the U.S. swine, herd, AgSec Vilsack announced the Agriculture Department will require reports of cases of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus and the similar Swine Delta Coronavirus.

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