Philippines: Virus strikes Bulacan pond, kills 101,383 Tilapia – report

By Jasper Y. Arcalas, 7th December 2017;

The lethal Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) has arrived in the Philippines, killing 101,383 Tilapia (likely Nile Tilapia) (Oreochromis niloticus) in a lone Bulacan-based pond in June, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said.

In a notification submitted to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Agriculture Assistant Secretary for Livestock Enrico P. Garzon said TiLV killed 101,363 Tilapia out of the 300,000 susceptible population in a Bulacan-based pond, representing a 33.78-percent mortality rate.

Garzon added the outbreak was confirmed last June 29 and has already been resolved by the DA on September 15.

“An unexplained daily mortality of Tilapia fingerlings was observed in the nursery pond of a private farm after stocking on May 16, 2017. Elevated mortality after 15 days reached approximately 25 percent. Affected fish showed distended abdomen and bulging of the eyes,” he said in the notification dated November 23.

Garzon said on May 31, the DA collected samples from the affected farm and were submitted to the Fisheries Biotechnology Center (FBC) in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

“Semi-nested RT-PCR exhibited positive results using reported Tilapia Lake Virus [TiLV] primers. Other samples submitted to National Fisheries Laboratory- Fish Health of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources also showed positive results by insulated isothermal PCR [iiPCR],” he said.

The DA official added the laboratory results indicated that the “amplified 3 segment of the viral ENE [expression and nuclear retention element] has 94 to 95 percent nucleotide similarity to Israel TiLV strain.”

Garzon said the movement of fingerlings from the affected pond has been restricted and monitored. He added that the results of the last two samplings showed negative for TiLV.

On May 26 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations warned countries of TiLV as it is considered a “lethal threat” to food security.

“The outbreak should be treated with concern and countries importing Tilapia should take appropriate risk-management measures—intensifying diagnostics testing, enforcing health certificates, deploying quarantine measures and developing contingency plans,” the FAO said.

“Tilapia-producing countries need to be vigilant, and should follow aquatic animal-health code protocols of the World Organisation for Animal Health when trading Tilapia. They should initiate an active surveillance program to determine the presence or absence of TiLV, the geographic extent of the infection and identify risk factors that may help contain it,” the FAO added.

The FAO said the TiLV poses no public health concern, but could decimate infected populations. The TiLV has been reported in at least five countries in three continents: Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Israel and Thailand, according to the FAO.

“Tilapia are the second most important aquaculture species in volume terms, providing food, jobs and domestic and export earnings for millions of people, including many smallholders,” it said.

“In 2015 world Tilapia production, from both aquaculture and capture, amounted to 6.4 million tons, with an estimated value of $9.8 billion, and worldwide trade was valued at $1.8 billion,” the FAO added.

Source: Business Mirror

Philippines: Virus strikes Bulacan pond, kills 101,383 Tilapia – report

Indonesia: Authorities on alert after 2 Elephants found dead in Aceh

17th October 2015;

Local authorities and law enforcers are investigating the recent death of two Sumatran Elephants (Elephas maximus sumatranus) in Aceh Jaya regency, Aceh, after their preliminary investigation suggested that the endangered animals died from poisoning.

Aceh Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) head Genman Suhefti Hasibuan said the agency’s examination team had found blood flowing from the mouth and anus of the two female Elephants, which were found dead on Wednesday by residents in Panggong subdistrict, Krueng Sabee district.

“These are strong indications that the Elephants have died because of poisoning,” Genman said on Thursday as quoted by tribunnews.com.

The agency’s team, which consists of a veterinarian, mahouts and forest rangers, has also collected samples from the animals’ organs.

“The samples will be sent to the National Police’s forensic laboratory for follow-up examinations and legal purposes,” Genman said, adding that the team had not found any wounds on the Elephants.

The bodies of the two Elephants, which were 15 and 2 years of age, were lying some 10 meters apart from one another.

With the discovery of these latest two cases, the agency has recorded five deaths this year of Sumatran Elephants that died in suspicious circumstances.

The agency, Genman added, had reported the case to local police for further investigation.

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Indonesia recently revealed that the Elephant population in Sumatra continued to decrease over the past decade, mainly because of illegal hunting, particularly in Riau, Aceh and North Sumatra.

WCS said the population of Sumatran Elephants was currently no larger than 1,000 animals, or 69 percent lower than 25 years ago.

The decrease in the population of Sumatran Elephants has caused the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to list the species as Endangered.

Last month, law enforcers in Lampung launched an investigation into the killing of Yongki, a tame Sumatran Elephant that was found dead at the South Bukit Barisan National Park (TNBBS).

The 35-year-old male Elephant had been found with severe wounds at the base of his missing two tusks.

TNBBS head Timbul Batubara said Yongki’s body had been discovered just 300 meters behind his patrol camp in Pemerihan, West Pesisir regency, which is situated some 120 kilometers northwest of the provincial capital of Bandar Lampung.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Lampung Police special criminal investigation directorate head Sr. Comr. Dicky Patria Negara said the police had so far interrogated 20 witnesses in the case.

The police, he said, believed that Yongki’s tusks had been shipped out of the province to the illegal market overseas.

“Our focus now is on looking for the suspects. It is clear that there are more than two people [involved in the murder],” he was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

Apart from the struggle to survive illegal poaching, Sumatran Elephants have seen their continued survival at risk, with many babies dying over the past three years from Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV).

The North Sumatra-based Veterinary Society for Sumatran Wildlife Conservation (VESSWIC), for example, reported that the EEHV virus had killed five young Elephants in Way Kambas, Lampung, in 2012 and four others between October last year and February. Another calf died in Aceh in February.

“While adult Elephants can survive EEHV attacks, many calves have died [because of EEHV]. The virus is threatening their population,” Muhammad Wahyu of VESSWIC recently said.

EEHV-infected Elephants, according to Wahyu, suffer from lower immunity, swollen faces and blue tongues.

Source: Jakarta Post

Indonesia: Authorities on alert after 2 Elephants found dead in Aceh

Indonesia: Virus kills four young elephants in Lampung

4th February 2015;

A state of emergency has been declared at the Elephant Conservation Center (PKG) in Way Kambas National Park in Lampung following to the death of four young elephants over the past three months.

The four juveniles, aged between three and eight years old, died after being infected by the elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus.

PKG head Antonius Fevri said the state of emergency was declared after the deadly virus claimed a quarter, or four of 16 young elephants in the breeding area. He said this was the first outbreak of the virus at the center.

“The virus attack is very fast and the incident lasts less than 24 hours. The first three young elephants who died in November 2014 showed symptoms of the illness in the morning and were dead by the afternoon,” he said as quoted by kompas.com.

“The infected elephants [all] show similar symptoms. Our employees found them in weak condition with their tongues turned blue and a significant drop in body temperature, he said.

Antonius said he suspected the virus had been transferred by adult elephants to younger elephants but that the juveniles were unable to fight the virus because of their lower immunity levels.

He said the state of emergency would last for 20 days and that a medical team would check up on the remaining juveniles twice a day, who would be segregated from the adult elephats.

Source: Jakarta Post

Indonesia: Virus kills four young elephants in Lampung

Lots of dead farm fishes washed up at Lim Chu Kang
By Ria Tan, 17th October 2014;

This morning I saw many freshly dead fishes washed up at Lim Chu Kang jetty. The dead fishes look like those raised by fish farms.

What killed these fishes? Were these dead fishes deliberately dumped by the fish farms instead of being properly disposed?

All along the shore, there is a line of dead fishes at today’s low water mark. With more fishes floating in the water. A lot more dead fishes are floating in the water between the shore and the fish farms.

There is a line of dead fishes at the most recent mid-tide mark. The fishes here look quite freshly dead.

At the high water mark, the dead fishes here are starting to decompose. Have dead fishes been washing up for a while? Smaller quantities in the days before?

One fish was crawling with live maggots. Quite creepy! I didn’t see any dead wild fishes.

Read More

Source: Wild Shores of Singapore

It appears that the Milkfish (Chanos chanos) being raised by the fish farms off Lim Chu Kang are dying in large numbers.

Any dead fishes on Singapore’s northern shores?
By Ria Tan, 16th October 2014;

Two farms in Lim Chu Kang lost about 60 tonnes of fish to a marine bacteria, Vibrio, said Singapore Marine Aquaculture Cooperative Chairman Phillip Lim to Channel NewsAsia. His own farm has also been affected. “I started with 8,000 fish. I’m only left with 200 to 300-plus fish,” he said.

Is Vibrio dangerous to humans? Did any of these dead fishes wash up on Singapore’s northern shores? We had a quick look last night and today.

Did any of these dead fishes wash up at Lim Chu Kang?

I headed for Lim Chu Kang jetty as soon as I heard the news. The road really does end abruptly here so it’s important to watch out, in the dark!

I saw a handful of dead fishes along the short 10m stretch that I checked of the shore. Some of the fishes looked recently dead. Others looked like they were dead for a day or so, eye missing. These look similar to the hundreds of dead fishes that floated up at Lim Chu Kang and Sungei Buloh last year.

Read More

Source: Wild Shores of Singapore

All the dead fishes pictured are Milkfish (Chanos chanos), which are among the species of fishes raised by the fish farms off Lim Chu Kang.

A farmer holding up one of his fish

Marine bacteria detected in fish samples
A large number of fish in 44 farms have died due to the infection, causing frustration among fish farmers. Humans can get infected by consuming undercooked seafood or exposing an open wound to sea water.
15th October 2014;

A marine bacteria, Vibrio, has been detected in fish samples taken from Singapore’s coastal fish farms.

While Vibrio is found naturally in tropical marine environments, humans can get infected by consuming undercooked seafood or exposing an open wound to sea water. Diarrhoea, vomiting and fever are some symptoms of the infection.

Experts say warm weather and rising sea surface temperatures have led to the rapid growth of marine micro-organisms, which release toxins that kill the fish. A large number of fish in 44 farms have died due to the infection, causing frustration among fish farmers.

Singapore Marine Aquaculture Cooperative Chairman Phillip Lim said two farms in Lim Chu Kang lost about 60 tonnes of fish to Vibrio, and his own farm has also been affected. “I started with 8,000 fish. I’m only left with 200 to 300-plus fish,” he said. The infection was discovered when they sent samples to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore for examination.

“For us, as farmers, we don’t have the equipment, so we need more professional help on that, to advise us what to do about all this. Because Vibrio can also infect humans, so it is quite dangerous.” Mr Lim said stress might have killed the fish as well.

While dead fish are disposed of, those still alive are sold at local markets. The public is urged to ensure the fish is fully cooked, before consuming them.

Source: Channel NewsAsia

The fish in the photo is possibly a young White Tamban (Sardinella albella), which is not raised in farms. A rather weird choice of species to illustrate an article about fishes in farms dying from disease.

Thailand: Signs of foot-and-mouth disease found in some Gaur carcasses

By Janjira Pongrai, 8th March 2014;

Most recent tests show that four of the 24 Gaurs (Bos gaurus) that died mysteriously in December in Kui Buri National Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan had foot-and-mouth disease, Nipon Chotibal, acting chief of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, said yesterday.

A panel of academics investigating the deaths will discuss the results today and look for ways to prevent further outbreaks. Mahidol University’s Faculty of Veterinary Science conducted the lab tests and will officially announce the results on Tuesday.

Nipon said Gaurs are more sensitive to the disease compared to other hoofed animals, citing previous Gaur deaths in India from the same disease. It is suspected that the disease spread from other animals in the area, adding that foot-and-mouth disease had been detected in the province and in Ratchaburi earlier this year.

Nipon added that though the situation was under control to a certain degree, Kui Buri Park would remain closed indefinitely as a precaution. Tuenjai Nuchdamrong, director of the Wildlife Conservation Office, said this was the first time that traces of the disease has been found in wild Gaurs in Thailand, adding that agencies would find ways to protect the remaining 100 Gaur in Kui Buri and in Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Since it is believed that the foot-and-mouth disease might have been transmitted from a wild animal that was returned to nature without the knowledge of the authorities, she said the public and relevant agencies would be warned to no longer release animals without proper screening.

Initial tests showed 17 of Gaur carcasses had traces of a nitrate compound, while nine had the bacteria Clostridium novyi. However, the cause of the deaths was not determined.

Source: The Nation

Thailand: Signs of foot-and-mouth disease found in some Gaur carcasses

Thailand: Gaurs died from foot and mouth

By Apinya Wipatayotin, 8th March 2014;

The mysterious deaths of 24 Gaurs (Bos gaurus) in the Kui Buri National Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan late last year and early this year were caused by foot and mouth disease, it has been confirmed.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has released laboratory test results showing that the cause of the animals deaths was a virus strain linked to foot and mouth disease, said the department’s acting chief Niphol Chotiban.

The laboratory test was conducted by Mahidol University.

“It is not beyond our expectation,” said Mr Niphol.

“We are confident that those ill-fated Gaurs might have contracted the disease from an animal released into the forest under animal release campaigns,” he said, adding that his department also investigated the areas nearby the national park.

The 24 dead Gaurs found in the national park between November last year and early January were 14 males, eight females and two calves.

Earlier, there were several theories about what might have caused the deaths including toxins from plants the Gaurs ate, an internal conflict in the department leading to somebody harming the Gaurs, and “black disease” which develops from the Clostridium perfringens bacterium that a laboratory test conducted by the Institute of National Animal Health found in the Gaurs’tissue samples.

However, since foot and mouth disease was found in nearby areas during the period when the Gaurs died, the department has concluded that this is what killed the Gaurs, not black disease.

Mr Niphol said that the department has taken the appropriate procedural measures to control the disease by temporarily closing down the national park and banning the release of animals into the forest.

The department will hold a press conference next week to discuss the issue further.

Some locals believed that former Kui Buri National Park chief Suriyon Bhodibandit was involved in the Gaurs’ deaths.

Mr Suriyon was transferred in February to work as the chief of Nam Tok Hoiey Yang National Park, close to Kui Buri National Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Source: Bangkok Post

Thailand: Gaurs died from foot and mouth

Thailand: Gaur deaths blamed on ‘black disease’

1st February 2014;

The 24 Gaurs (Bos gaurus) found dead in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Kui Buri wildlife reserve were not necessarily killed by deliberate poisoning or poaching, but might possibly by a new disease, a joint investigation led by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation showed yesterday.

Strains of the so-called black disease involving the bacterium Clostridium novyi, which is potentially fatal to animals, were found in the tissue of 15 Gaurs and one clay sample. Though “black disease” has never been reported in Thailand, further investigation has been recommended to determine whether the 15 Gaurs really died from it.

In addition, the Clostridium perfringens bacterium was found in the tissue of six carcasses and food sources, but it is not fatal and was not likely to be the cause of death. Another report said no excessive amounts of heavy metals, insecticide or cyanide were found in food and water resources for animals.

The department has recommended that the carcasses be immediately buried, the area where they were found be disinfected, a buffer zone be created to minimise future infections among animals, cattle farmed near the reserve be vaccinated, and access to the area be limited to authorised personnel and police.

Source: The Nation

Thailand: Gaur deaths blamed on ‘black disease’

Thailand: Suspicious Gaur deaths in national park

By Pongphon Sarnsamak, 18th January 2014;

Tissue samples collected from a number of dead Gaurs (Bos gaurus) in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Kui Buri National Park were found to be contaminated with high levels of a nitrate compound and the bacteria Clostridium novyi, as well as the Anaplasma spp. pathogen, which leads to the disease anaplasmosis – causing sudden death in animals, according to the National Institute of Animal Health.

The animal-health agency’s director Preecha Wongvijarn said his agency had sent a team of veterinarians to collect samples from 19 dead Gaurs in Kui Buri National Park to investigate the cause of death.

The team discovered that two samples were contaminated with high levels of the nitrate compound, while other samples showed only low levels of the same compound.

Another two samples were found to be tainted with the bacteria Clostridium novyi and with the Anaplasma spp. pathogen, according to laboratory results announced by the state animal-watch agency.

Preecha explained that the nitrate compound could also be found in natural sleeping grass and salt, while the bacterium Clostridium novyi and Ananplasma spp could be detected in soil. He said a combination of the two could result in the sudden death in a Gaur.

“We still do not know the root cause which resulted in the deaths of these Gaurs. These are just the preliminary results based on the collected samples. So far, we can only deduce what the samples have told us, but we cannot conclude yet that this is the main cause of the large number of Gaur deaths,” he said at the press conference.

He said the team could not collect further tissue samples to study the effects of the toxins from bacteria on the internal organs of the dead Gaurs, as most of the carcasses had already decomposed.

Preecha said his team was now waiting for laboratory test results on soil samples collected from the mineral licks and the samples of sleeping grasses, collected from the stomachs of the dead Gaurs.

Meanwhile, Anuphan Ittharatana, director of Pollution Control Department’s Waste and Hazardous Substance Bureau, said his agency had also sent a team to collect soil and water samples from the areas where 15 of the dead Gaur were discovered to find out if there was any contamination from hazardous chemical substances.

However, the agency had found that the level of hazardous chemical substances collected from the soil sediment did not exceed the levels designated by the National Environmental Board.

Samples of soil collected from a newly dug creek where the carcass of the first dead Gaur was discovered, were found to be tainted with high levels of arsenic, although it has since been concluded that this could not have led to the sudden death of the animal. The team also found no cyanide contamination in the water supply.

Another laboratory test on pesticide contamination will not be known for another two weeks, Anuphan said.

Niphon Chotiban, acting director-general of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, said Kui Buri National Park would remain closed until investigations into the suspicious deaths of the Gaurs had been concluded. He insisted that a conflict among wildlife protection officials in his agency was not the reason for the deaths.

Source: The Nation

Thailand: Suspicious Gaur deaths in national park