Navigation Links
New threat closes in on iconic Galápagos wildlife
Date:9/16/2011

Renewed vigilance over the biosecurity of the Galpagos Islands is needed, based on new research on the risk posed by West Nile virus.

Scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the University of Leeds and the New York State Department of Health, together with the Galpagos National Park Service and University of Guayaquil, have been studying the disease threat posed by Islands' mosquito populations. They have discovered that a species of these biting insects is capable of transmitting West Nile virus, a potentially dangerous disease for the archipelago's unique wildlife.

West Nile virus (WNV) most commonly affects birds, but can infect mammals, including humans, and reptiles. Previous studies of West Nile virus impact in the USA have linked the virus to declines in several bird populations, demonstrating the high risk it poses to the Galpagos' endemic species. The virus recently invaded South America, but has yet to reach the Galpagos.

Recent studies on tourist boats and planes have shown that the mosquito species Culex quinquefasciatus (also known as the Southern house mosquito) is hitching a ride onto the Galpagos on airliners. Culex species are well-known vectors of WNV elsewhere in the world, so their presence on the Islands has caused concern amongst the scientific community.

The ability of mosquitoes to transmit particular disease agents effectively often varies between species, or between populations within species. Therefore to understand the risk posed by C. quinquefasciatus in Galpagos, the research team measured the ability of Galpagos C. quinquefasciatus to pick up and transmit WNV in the lab, under conditions that simulated those in the wild. They found that Galpagos C. quinquefasciatus were indeed effective vectors for the virus.

Prof Andrew Cunningham from ZSL says: "We now know that mosquitoes capable of carrying West Nile virus have a route onto the Galpagos, and once there, the virus could also spread into the local mosquito population. This means there is potential for large impacts on endemic species. There is no doubt that West Nile virus poses a serious threat to the survival of the Galpagos' iconic wildlife."

In order to reduce the chances of West Nile virus reaching the islands, the authors suggest further research to determine the presence of WNV in the mainland Ecuador, plus strict enforcement insect control measures on aircraft and ships moving between the mainland and islands.

Dr Simon Goodman from the University of Leeds says: "Piece by piece we are building up a comprehensive picture of the disease ecology in Galpagos and what could happen if WNV were to reach the islands. Once WNV has been introduced onto the Galpagos, it would be much harder to contain. Therefore the best strategy is to have strict preventive measures to reduce the chance of the disease reaching the islands in the first place."

Lead author PhD student Gillian Eastwood says: "Whilst WNV does not yet exist in Galpagos, it is important to envisage what future disease scenarios could be by looking at how this particular virus would interact within this unique ecosystem. Evaluating the role that mosquitoes could play is therefore vital. This recent part of our work is however only one aspect to understanding potential WNV transmission on the Islands; it remains to see how severely Galapagos wildlife might be affected but all precautions should be taken."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jo Kelly
jo@campuspr.co.uk
44-113-357-2103
University of Leeds
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. 7 Texas mammals listed as threatened on Global Mammal Assessment
2. Tropical rainforest and mountain species may be threatened by global warming
3. Global warming threatens Australias iconic kangaroos
4. Revealing the evolutionary history of threatened sea turtles
5. Fertilizers -- a growing threat to sea life
6. Avian flu threat: New approach needed
7. Overfishing threatens European bluefin tuna
8. Land iguanas under continuing threat on Galapagos archipelago
9. Queens University biologists find new environmental threat in North American lakes
10. Time running out on coral reefs as climate change becomes increasing threat
11. Traditional Dutch landscape under threat
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/7/2017)... , Feb. 7, 2017   MedNet Solutions ... the entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to ... , its innovative, highly flexible and award winning ... customers. iMedNet is a proven Software-as-a-Service ... Electronic Data Capture (EDC), but also delivers an entire ...
(Date:2/6/2017)... , Feb. 6, 2017 According to ... are driving border authorities to continue to embrace ... there are 2143 Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates ... deployed at more than 163 ports of entry ... to 2016 achieving a combined CAGR of 37%. ...
(Date:2/2/2017)... 2017   TapImmune, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... in the development of innovative peptide and gene-based ... and metastatic disease, announced today it has successfully ... a second clinical lot of TPIV 200, the ... The manufactured vaccine product will be used to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)...  Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAPR), a biotechnology company developing ... that Linda Marbán, Ph.D, president and chief executive officer, is ... Cowen and Company 37th Annual Health Care Conference ... Boston, MA 29th Annual ROTH ... pm ET) Dana Point, CA ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... DIEGO and SAN FRANCISCO ... a privately-held regenerative medicine company, and Beyond Type 1, ... with type 1 diabetes, today announced a grant from ... a functional cure for type 1 and other insulin-requiring ... ViaCyte has been developing innovative stem cell-derived cell replacement ...
(Date:2/22/2017)...  Aratana Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: PETX), a pet therapeutics company ... products for companion animals, will host a live conference call ... discuss financial results from the fourth quarter and full year ... investors may access the audio webcast or use ... ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... Park Systems , a leader in Atomic ... all SPIE attendees and Park customers on Feb. 27, 2017 from 12-2pm ... Jose Convention Center. The luncheon will feature a talk on Automated AFM for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: