Archive | February 21, 2014

Bee Virus Spreading To Wild Bumblebees With Fatal Results
The bee virus is spreading from honeybees to their wild cousin bumblebees at an alarming rate, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
The study, which was conducted in the United Kingdom and followed nearly 750 bees at 26 sites, found that a major source for the bumblebee decline in recent years stemmed from “the spillover of parasites and pathogens and disease” from managed honeybee hives, the Associated Press reported.
Since 2006, honey bee populations have been falling rapidly around the world fuelled by a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. The cause of the condition remains unclear; however, scientists believe a likely cause is the Varroa destructor mite that spreads viruses while feeding on hemolymph, or bee’s blood.
“There is some reason for concern here,” study coauthor Matthias Fuerst of the Royal Holloway University of London told the Agence France-Presse.
“Honeybees and bumblebees have very similar levels of those pathogens at the same site, so that means there is some connection between honeybees and bumblebees at those sites that is highly indicative of a spillover,” Fuerst explained.
According to Fuerst, the same pathogen responsible for killing off honeybees when found on a bumblebee resulted in a 25 to 33 percent reduction of their typical 21-day lifespan.
Of the honeybees tested at the study’s 26 sites, 88 percent were found to be infected with the pathogens, according to researchers, who warned however that the numbers could actually be significantly higher.
“We’re only catching individuals that are alive and healthy and able to go out and forage,” principal author Mark J.F. Brown told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s likely that the prevalence numbers that we report are lower than they actually are.”
Much like honeybees, bumblebees play a vital role in pollinizing flowers and food around the world, particularly tomatoes, according to experts.
“Wild bees are contributing a substantial and significant fraction of the pollination services that we require,” Brown added. “Honeybees are absolutely important, but so are wild bees.”
Aside from the Varroa destructor mite and the virus it spreads, other possible causes for the massive bee die-offs is the use of neonicotinoid pesticides that have been shown to cause seizure-like deaths in European honeybees.

Washington Declares Emergency Rule For Pig Virus
The Washington State Department of Agriculture is requiring evidence that pigs entering the state are free of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, which is spreading throughout the United States.
The Washington Department of Agriculture has declared an emergency rule to keep porcine epidemic diarrhea virus out.
All swine entering the state must carry evidence the animals are free of virus. The rule is effective immediately and will remain in force for at least 120 days.
The virus has not yet entered the state, acting state veterinarian Paul Kohrs said. But in recent weeks, cases were reported in Montana and Idaho, which often interact with Washington, he said.
It’s also the season for 4-H and FFA members to obtain their show pigs, some of which come from out of state.
“We wanted to see if we could put some kind of credibility to the health certificates that they’ve been checked out,” Kohrs said.
All animals that enter the state, including pigs, are already required to have a health certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian stating the animal is disease free, according to the department.
Certificates for swine entering Washington now must include a statement that they have not originated from premises known to be affected by and have not been exposed to the virus within the last 30 days.
The certificate must be signed by the animal owner as well as a veterinarian.
There is no public health risk because the disease cannot be spread to humans or other animals.
Causes of the virus are still uncertain, Kohrs said.
“There’s some indication that it may be spread in feed, but that’s certainly not confirmed,” he said. “We know it survives really well on fomites like trucks and travel trailers. It’s a pretty hardy virus. We don’t know where it’s coming from.”
Fomites are objects or materials likely to carry infection.
Kohrs hopes to boost awareness of the situation and encourages farmers to be careful about the source of pigs they bring to their farm.
“The best thing you can do is ask where the truck has been, do some of your own biosecurity when you have visitors coming,” he said. “Ask where they’ve been, if they’ve been on other premises where they’ve had pigs.”
The virus is relatively mild in adult pigs, with a slight fever, some diarrhea and eventual recovery after a few days. Adult pigs could be carrying the virus without symptoms and bring it back home after picking it up in a commingled setting.
There’s a risk any time pigs are put together, Kohrs said.
He recommends that fair superintendents find an alternative to gathering pigs together for spring weigh-in or tagging activities before events.
“Any time you can avoid the commingling of pigs, you’re going to lessen the risk,” he said.
Death rates are highest in younger pigs, less than 3 weeks old.
“If they’ve had a farrowing event on their farm and they’ve lost a lot of pigs, I’d be real concerned that (PED virus) may be what you’re dealing with,” Kohrs said. “In the farrowing setting, where there’s litters of pigs, it can take out a whole barn. It spreads that quickly. That’s why we don’t want to have it here.”


Subject To Change

Depth: 62 km

Distances: 39 km S of Taipei, Taiwan / pop: 7,871,900 / local time: 04:25:16.0 2014-02-22
17 km W of Yilan, Taiwan / pop: 94,188 / local time: 04:25:16.0 2014-02-22

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***BE ALERT***

Magnetogram 21.02.14  22.01 hrs UTC


Subject To Change

Depth: 30 km

Distances: 1100 km S of Nuku‘alofa, Tonga / pop: 22,400 / local time: 06:51:39.0 2014-02-22
917 km NE of Whangarei, New Zealand / pop: 50,900 / local time: 06:51:39.0 2014-02-22

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Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 3615 km E of Papeete, French Polynesia / pop: 26,357 / local time: 02:14:39.0 2014-02-21
4270 km SW of Lima, Peru / pop: 7,737,002 / local time: 07:14:39.0 2014-02-21
4454 km W of Santiago, Chile / pop: 4,837,295 / local time: 09:14:39.0 2014-02-21

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Subject To Change

Depth: 10 km

Distances: 74 km W of Oranjestad, Aruba / pop: 29,998 / local time: 07:43:23.0 2014-02-21
195 km W of Willemstad / pop: 125,000 / local time: 07:43:00.0 2014-02-21
469 km NW of Caracas, Venezuela / pop: 3,000,000 / local time: 07:13:23.0 2014-02-21

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Subject To Change

Depth: 113 km

Distances: 489 km NW of Córdoba, Argentina / pop: 1,428,214 / local time: 08:43:47.0 2014-02-21
149 km NW of La Rioja, Argentina / pop: 162,620 / local time: 08:43:47.0 2014-02-21
30 km NE of Vinchina, Argentina / pop: 2,834 / local time: 08:43:47.0 2014-02-21

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Sinkhole Opens Up In Children’s Pleasure Park At Southampton Sports Centre, UK

Daily Echo: The one metre wide sinkhold at Southampton Sports Centre

A SINKHOLE has appeared in a children’s play area in Southampton.

Flooding has caused part of the Children’s Pleasure Park at the city sports centre to disappear.

There is now a hole about one metre wide and up to four feet deep at the site in Bassett.

While the park remains open, three trampolines have been cordoned off as a safety precaution.

Fred Salter, who runs the park, said the hole first appeared on Friday when the area was covered in six inches of floodwater.

He said: I’ve never seen anything like this before at the sports centre.

“I am worried that it could happen anywhere around here because there was so much water running down the hole.

“You just wonder, where is all that water going to go?

“I was worried I would have to shut the play park down should it get bigger.

“But the problem is that water is running into the hole and we can’t just fill it with earth, as where is the water going to go?”

“I’m scared that a child could play on the trampolines and another hole could appear, and if they had been when the sinkhole appeared they could have had serious injuries.”

He said Active Nation, which manages the sports centre, has not carried out repair work yet but is set to do so in the coming days.