World Porcupines in Maine Threatened By Newly-Emerging Virus First Seen in Canada
Let's stop fighting each other and tackle our common foe: the virus
COVID-19 has become just another outlet for national competition, ideological antagonism and populist recklessness and disinformation. Africa, an entire continent, home to 1 billion people, has been virtually ignored as vaccines have been distributed.Similarly, at the national level, there has been little to no coordination of efforts. State was pitted against state for procurement of emergency equipment, and states went their own ways in imposing restrictions or other public health measures.
Wildlife experts said that a new virus attributed to the deaths of three porcupines in Maine could have been brought from Canada.
Five porcupines in Bar Harbor had to be rushed to the Acadia Wildlife Center over the course of one week. All five were seen to have runny noses and seemed to have trouble breathing. Three of the porcupines died in short order, leaving scientists perplexed. When they investigated further, they saw that the virus that killed the animals in Maine had originally been found in several animals throughout Canada.
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the agreement in principle, which will be finalized in the coming months, aims to end years of litigation. © Provided by FranceInfo This is the "largest compensation agreement in the history of Canada," welcomed the government. Ottawa announced, Tuesday, January 4th, the conclusion of a $ 40 billion in principle agreement (€ 27.8 billion) to compensate aboriginal children and their family discrimination.
The disease that the doctors located was Skunk Adenovirus 1, otherwise known as SkAdV-1. According to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, the virus' most common symptoms are "nasal discharge, acute pneumonia, and lethargy." Afflicted animals can also develop lesions, including bronchopneumonia and hepatitis.
Perhaps most surprising about the disease, however, is how many different types of animals it has afflicted. It was first diagnosed in a striped skunk from Ontario in 2015. Despite being named the Skunk Adenovirus, according to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, the virus has also been diagnosed in "grey foxes... African pygmy hedgehogs, raccoons, and pygmy marmosets," as well as porcupines.
"That is a remarkably wide array of families of animals to be infected within a four to five year period of time by a virus never seen before," University of New Hampshire Diagnostics Lab scientist David Needle told local newspaper The Bangor Daily News.
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Despite Africa's low vaccination rates, the continent's early, robust response has helped mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the continent so far, says Dr. John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And he predicts many more vaccines will be available in 2022, with a strong emphasis on distribution.A man gets vaccinated against COVID-19 at a site near Johannesburg, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021.
Scientists currently have no idea how the virus spreads. This uncertainty has Maine researchers on edge, as they fear that the disease will end up ravaging the local porcupine population. Thankfully, it does not appear to kill all that are infected, as biologists say that some animals are able to fully recover from the disease. However, it appears to be particularly hostile towards porcupines for an unknown reason.
"The virus is pretty easy to see when it causes disease," explained Needle, "and the folks that have described it in each site have been doing diagnostic pathology for a long time and wouldn't have missed it, so it seems quite likely that this is legitimately a currently emerging disease."
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is now working with wildlife researchers, rehabilitators and trappers to study the virus.
Porcupines are common in Maine, where they are often seen by drivers as they awkwardly waddle near wooded areas. They mostly feed in the tree canopy in winter.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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