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>

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>

New Article: Outfoxing a Rash

Outfoxing a Rash: Clinical Example of Human-Wildlife Interaction

Authors: Rabinowitz PM, Gordon Z

Journal: EcoHealth

Year: 2004 Volume: 1 Issue: 4 Pages: 404-407

ISSN: 1612-9202

Abstract:

“Increasing human-wildlife contact can manifest in a variety of clinical conditions that may be overlooked by both human health and veterinaly professionals. We report on an outbreak of scabies infection in a community, affecting both animals and humans, and representing the effects of an emerging infectious disease in a wildlife population. These cases underscore the potential importanvce of “animal sentinel” events for human, animal, and ecosystem health. The treatment given to the human cases of infection ranged from aggressive therapy to watchful waiting, with similar outcomes. There is a need for further collaborative, evidence-based research by human and veterinary health professionals into the optimal treatment and prevention of infections resulting from cross-species transmission.”

Abstract:
<blockquote>
"Increasing human-wildlife contact can manifest in a variety of clinical conditions that may be overlooked by both human health and veterinaly professionals. We report on an outbreak of scabies infection in a community, affecting both animals and humans, and representing the effects of an emerging infectious disease in a wildlife population. These cases underscore the potential importanvce of "animal sentinel" events for human, animal, and ecosystem health. The treatment given to the human cases of infection ranged from aggressive therapy to watchful waiting, with similar outcomes. There is a need for further collaborative, evidence-based research by human and veterinary health professionals into the optimal treatment and prevention of infections resulting from cross-species transmission."
</blockquote>