New features: Full text article links

The Canary Database now attempts to create links to library full text link servers (known in libraries as “OpenURL resolvers”) for many hundreds of libraries. If you’re using the Canary Database from an academic campus, there’s a good chance you’ll see links from articles in our database back to your own library’s online journals. Follow these links to get to full text just like you would any other time you see the link buttons from your library!

We’re not certain, but we think this is the first time a small resource like ours has featured this kind of linking. If you want to know how to add this feature to your own database, contact us and we’ll fill you in.

Washington Post: Animal Diseases as Warnings

Animal Diseases as Warnings: Wider Tracking of Wildlife Illnesses Aimed at Detecting Bio-Attacks

Authors: D’Vera Cohn

Journal: Washington Post

Year: 2006 Pages: B03

In today’s paper:

“Not every animal disease indicates a human health risk, but some do more than we are always aware of,” said Peter Rabinowitz, an associate professor at the Yale University School of Medicine, the main author of a recent journal article concluding that wildlife, livestock or pets could play a key role in signaling an anthrax or plague attack. “Human health professionals don’t get a lot of training in this, and we are having to play catch-up.”

For more about that recent journal article, see this earlier Canary Database Project News item.

In <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/23/AR2006052301676.html">today’s paper</a>:

<blockquote>
"Not every animal disease indicates a human health risk, but some do more than we are always aware of," said Peter Rabinowitz, an associate professor at the Yale University School of Medicine, the main author of a recent journal article concluding that wildlife, livestock or pets could play a key role in signaling an anthrax or plague attack. "Human health professionals don’t get a lot of training in this, and we are having to play catch-up."
</blockquote>

For more about that recent journal article, see <a href="https://news.canarydatabase.org/archives/13">this earlier Canary Database Project News item</a>.

NYT report on ISEZ 2006, attended by project staff

Tackling the Animal-to-Human Link in Illness

Authors: Lawrence K. Altman

Journal: New York Times

Year: 2006

ISSN: 0362-4331

Canary Database P.I. Peter Rabinowitz, M.D., attended the recent International Symposium on Emerging Zoonoses 2006 conference in Atlanta. The event was written up in the New York Times:

“Stronger ties between veterinarians and physicians are needed to prevent further outbreaks of the animal diseases that have caused deaths and serious illness among humans in many countries in recent years, international health officials said at a meeting here.”

Tags: zoonoses isez symposium

Canary Database P.I. Peter Rabinowitz, M.D., attended the recent <a href="http://www.isezconference.org/home.htm">International Symposium on Emerging Zoonoses 2006</a> conference in Atlanta. The event was written up in the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/25/health/25infect.html">New York Times</a>:

<blockquote>"Stronger ties between veterinarians and physicians are needed to prevent further outbreaks of the animal diseases that have caused deaths and serious illness among humans in many countries in recent years, international health officials said at a meeting here."</blockquote>zoonoses isez symposium

New Article: Animals as Sentinels of Bioterrorism Agents

Animals as Sentinels of Bioterrorism Agents

Authors: Rabinowitz P, Gordon Z, Chudnov D, Wilcox M, Odofin L, Liu A, et al.

Journal: Emerg Infect Dis.

Year: 2006 Volume: 12 Issue: 4

ISSN: 1080-6059

Our latest publication is now available online!

Abstract:

“We conducted a systematic review of the scientific literature from 1966 to 2005 to determine whether animals could provide early warning of a bioterrorism attack, serve as markers for ongoing exposure risk, and amplify or propagate a bioterrorism outbreak. We found evidence that, for certain bioterrorism agents, pets, wildlife, or livestock could provide early warning and that for other agents, humans would likely manifest symptoms before illness could be detected in animals. After an acute attack, active surveillance of wild or domestic animal populations could help identify many ongoing exposure risks. If certain bioterrorism agents found their way into animal populations, they could spread widely through animal-to-animal transmission and prove difficult to control. The public health infrastructure must look beyond passive surveillance of acute animal disease events to build capacity for active surveillance and intervention efforts to detect and control ongoing outbreaks of disease in domestic and wild animal populations.”

Our latest publication is now available online!

Abstract:
<blockquote>"We conducted a systematic review of the scientific literature from 1966 to 2005 to determine whether animals could provide early warning of a bioterrorism attack, serve as markers for ongoing exposure risk, and amplify or propagate a bioterrorism outbreak. We found evidence that, for certain bioterrorism agents, pets, wildlife, or livestock could provide early warning and that for other agents, humans would likely manifest symptoms before illness could be detected in animals. After an acute attack, active surveillance of wild or domestic animal populations could help identify many ongoing exposure risks. If certain bioterrorism agents found their way into animal populations, they could spread widely through animal-to-animal transmission and prove difficult to control. The public health infrastructure must look beyond passive surveillance of acute animal disease events to build capacity for active surveillance and intervention efforts to detect and control ongoing outbreaks of disease in domestic and wild animal populations."</blockquote>

Create an account to save records, sets

New at canarydatabase.org is the ability to save records that interest you. Registered users can save any record with a single click, and can save records into different sets however you like. For example, if you’re studying sheep as sentinel animals, and separately preparing a paper on animals as sentinels of bioterrorism, you could create one set for each — “sheep”, and “bioterrorism”, and then save any records you find in the database to one, the other, or both sets. All with just a few quick clicks!

Viewing saved records and sets

To get started, register for an account using the link at left. Check your email inbox for a verification message, and when you’ve followed its instructions (they’re easy, we promise!), log in to the site.

Now that you’re logged in, you’ll see checkboxes next to all the records you find in the database. Click them to save them… it’s that easy!

To review your saved records, or limit a search to only your saved records, click on the link for My page at left. You’ll be able to see and search your records right there, and from here you can also get started creating sets.

Saving records in sets is just as easy as saving records… click a record you want to save, and your sets will automatically be listed right there under the record. Click the set name to save it into, and you’re done!

It’s all easy, useful, and best of all… it’s free!

Presentation from seminar at Colorado State University

The presentation given by Dr. Rabinowitz at CSU recently is now available online here.

Animal Sentinels Seminar at Colorado State University

Dr. Rabinowitz is leading a seminar on animals as sentinels of human environmental health hazards today at the Lory Student Center at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Welcome seminar attendees!

Press Release: Animals Warn of Human Health Hazards in New Canary Database

New Haven, Conn. — Yale School of Medicine has launched a state-of-the-art database funded in part by the National Library of Medicine, called the Canary Database, containing scientific evidence about how animal disease events can be an early warning system for emerging human diseases.

There have long been reports of animals succumbing to environmental hazards before humans show signs of illness, according to the project’s leader, Peter Rabinowitz, M.D., associate professor of medicine in The Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program at Yale University School of Medicine.

“This concept of a ‘canary in a coal mine’ suggests that animals may be useful sentinels for human environmental health hazards,” said Rabinowitz. He points to the practice in the United States and Britain where coal miners would bring canaries into coal mines as an early warning signal for carbon monoxide and other poisonous gases. The birds, being more sensitive, would become sick before the miners, who would then have a chance to escape or put on protective respirators.

Rabinowitz said several episodes of illness in animals have been clearly linked to human health threats, including cats and mercury poisoning, and more recently wild bird mortality and West Nile Virus infection.

Rabinowitz said non-human animals could be more sensitive to many of the agents that are potential biological or chemical weapons and could therefore serve as “sentinels” for a terrorist attack. At the same time, the public health system has been slow to use animal sentinel data to detect and reduce human environmental health hazards. Rabinowitz said there is a lack of ongoing scientific communication between animal health and human health professionals about emerging disease threats. This has made it difficult to assemble the evidence about linkages between animal diseases and human health.

To address this need, Rabinowitz and his team developed The Canary Database of Animals as Sentinels of Human Environmental Health Hazards, a web-based collection of animal sentinel studies that have been collected and curated in terms of their relevance to human health. The project represents a collaborative effort between the Yale Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program, the Yale Center for Medical Informatics and the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center.

The database team is currently developing a series of evidence-based reviews focusing on the use of animal sentinel data in human health decision-making. “To do this,” Rabinowitz said, “we have to apply the principles of evidence-based medicine to a whole new field: the interface of animal and human health.”

Meanwhile, experts at the Yale Center for Medical Informatics are creating state-of-the-art knowledge integration software and information visualization tools allowing users to explore the rich database. Animal health experts at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, the nation’s primary wildlife disease research facility, provided background on potential disease transmission between humans and wildlife for emerging diseases such as monkey pox, SARS, Avian influenza, West Nile Virus and Chronic Wasting Disease.

To access the database, please visit http://canarydatabase.org/.

New Article: Pollution and amphibian limb malformation

Proximity to pollution sources and risk of amphibian limb malformation.

Authors: B Taylor, D Skelly, LK Demarchis, MD Slade, D Galusha, PM Rabinowitz

Journal: Environ Health Perspect

Year: 2005 Volume: 113 Issue: 11 Pages: 1497-501

ISSN: 0091-6765

Abstract:

“The cause of limb deformities in wild amphibian populations remains unclear, even though the apparent increase in prevalence of this condition may have implications for human health. Few studies have simultaneously assessed the effect of multiple exposures on the risk of limb deformities. In a cross-sectional survey of 5,264 hylid and ranid metamorphs in 42 Vermont wetlands, we assessed independent risk factors for nontraumatic limb malformation. The rate of nontraumatic limb malformation varied by location from 0 to 10.2%. Analysis of a subsample did not demonstrate any evidence of infection with the parasite Ribeiroia. We used geographic information system (GIS) land-use/land-cover data to validate field observations of land use in the proximity of study wetlands. In a multiple logistic regression model that included land use as well as developmental stage, genus, and water-quality measures, proximity to agricultural land use was associated with an increased risk of limb malformation (odds ratio = 2.26; 95% confidence interval, 1.42-3.58; p < 0.001). The overall discriminant power of the statistical model was high (C = 0.79). These findings from one of the largest systematic surveys to date provide support for the role of chemical toxicants in the development of amphibian limb malformation and demonstrate the value of an epidemiologic approach to this problem."

Abstract:

<blockquote>
"The cause of limb deformities in wild amphibian populations remains unclear, even though the apparent increase in prevalence of this condition may have implications for human health. Few studies have simultaneously assessed the effect of multiple exposures on the risk of limb deformities. In a cross-sectional survey of 5,264 hylid and ranid metamorphs in 42 Vermont wetlands, we assessed independent risk factors for nontraumatic limb malformation. The rate of nontraumatic limb malformation varied by location from 0 to 10.2%. Analysis of a subsample did not demonstrate any evidence of infection with the parasite Ribeiroia. We used geographic information system (GIS) land-use/land-cover data to validate field observations of land use in the proximity of study wetlands. In a multiple logistic regression model that included land use as well as developmental stage, genus, and water-quality measures, proximity to agricultural land use was associated with an increased risk of limb malformation (odds ratio = 2.26; 95% confidence interval, 1.42-3.58; p < 0.001). The overall discriminant power of the statistical model was high (C = 0.79). These findings from one of the largest systematic surveys to date provide support for the role of chemical toxicants in the development of amphibian limb malformation and demonstrate the value of an epidemiologic approach to this problem."
</blockquote>

New Article: Evidence-Based Review of Animal Sentinels

Animals as Sentinels of HUman Environmental Health Hazards: An Evidence-Based Analysis

Authors: Rabinowitz PM, Gordon Z, Homes R, Taylor B, Wilcox M, Chudnov D, Nadkarni P, Dein FJ

Journal: EcoHealth

Year: 2005 Volume: 2 Issue: 1 Pages: 26-37

ISSN: 1612-9202

Abstract:

“Despite recognition that animals could be serving as “sentinels” for environmental risks to human health, there are no evidence-based guidelines for the use of animal sentinal data in human health decision making. We performed a systematic review of the animal sentinel literature to assess the evidence linking such events to human health. A search of MEDLINE identified peer-reviewed original studies of animals as sentinels for either chemical or biological environmental hazards. A limited search of the CAB and AGRICOLA databases was also performed. We classified a random sample of 100 studies from the MEDLINE search according to species, hazard, and health outcome examined; study methods; and linkages to human health. Animal sentinel studies were difficult to locate in MEDLINE because of a lack of adequate key words for this concept. We found significant limitations in the study methods used to investigate animal sentinel events. Clear linkages to human health were frequently absent. Studies of sentinel events in animal populations hold potential for the recognition and control of human environmental health hazards, yet a number of barriers exist to using such data for evidence-based human health decision. There is a need for greater data sharing and cooperative research between human and animal health professionals regarding environmental hazards and health outcomes in animal and human populations.”

Abstract:

<blockquote>
"Despite recognition that animals could be serving as "sentinels" for environmental risks to human health, there are no evidence-based guidelines for the use of animal sentinal data in human health decision making. We performed a systematic review of the animal sentinel literature to assess the evidence linking such events to human health. A search of MEDLINE identified peer-reviewed original studies of animals as sentinels for either chemical or biological environmental hazards. A limited search of the CAB and AGRICOLA databases was also performed. We classified a random sample of 100 studies from the MEDLINE search according to species, hazard, and health outcome examined; study methods; and linkages to human health. Animal sentinel studies were difficult to locate in MEDLINE because of a lack of adequate key words for this concept. We found significant limitations in the study methods used to investigate animal sentinel events. Clear linkages to human health were frequently absent. Studies of sentinel events in animal populations hold potential for the recognition and control of human environmental health hazards, yet a number of barriers exist to using such data for evidence-based human health decision. There is a need for greater data sharing and cooperative research between human and animal health professionals regarding environmental hazards and health outcomes in animal and human populations."
</blockquote>