An 8-year-old boy in Australia died in February from Australian bat lyssavirus, a disease related to rabies that is usually fatal, bringing the total known human deaths from the virus to three since it was first identified in 1996. Australia is rabies-free, but health officials there are urging veterinarians and others who work with bats to get the rabies vaccine, which protects against lyssavirus.
The San Diego Zoo piped 15 tons of shaved ice into its panda exhibit this week so the residents could enjoy the feel of snow they would encounter in their natural habitat. Bai Yun and her baby panda, Xiao Liwu, romped through the powdery snow, wrestled and generally seemed to enjoy their winter wonderland, senior keeper Jennifer Becerra said.
In an adaptation that allows Dolly Varden trout to survive for nearly 11 months without food, the intestinal tracts of the fish change in response to food availability, according to recent research. Researchers found that for five weeks during the summer salmon run, the fish gorge on as much as half a pound of salmon eggs per day, increasing their weight by 50% and super-sizing their intestinal tracts to four times the size seen in the nonfeeding season.
The Montana Senate has passed a bill that would grant the state Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks authority to oversee permits to salvage large game killed by vehicles for human consumption. Proponents of the bill say it will reduce waste, but opponents raise food safety concerns because the meat will not be inspected. The bill now goes to Gov. Steve Bullock.
Public health officials are searching for a man who brought a rabid bat to a Texas veterinary clinic and may have been exposed to the disease. People can become infected with rabies through bites and scratches or other types of contact with the saliva or nervous system tissue of an infected animal. Early symptoms may appear weeks later and can include headaches and fever, but the disease is progressive and almost always fatal. Authorities hope to find the man soon and remind people to seek medical care immediately if they are bitten by an animal.