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Posts Tagged ‘mice’

Mice plague hits biblical proportions across New South Wales farms

May 5, 2011 Comments off

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mice plague

Mice are at plague proportions in the NSW Riverina area. Source: The Daily Telegraph Source: Supplied

DROUGHTS, locusts and floods – now a mouse plague threatens to cripple winter crops.

With an estimated 8000 mice per hectare, farmers are fighting a losing war against the pint-sized enemy, which eats seedlings as quickly as they can be planted and chews through new crops.

Describing the vermin as “intelligent and crafty”, NSW Riverina farmer John Pattison said their natural predators had disappeared after recent weather events, allowing them to multiply at a fast rate.

Not seen in such numbers for 15 years, they hide underground and grab the seed as it germinates.

Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson said she would move swiftly to increase the production of poison to meet demand.

The worst affected areas are Hillston, Wentworth, Warren, Parkes and Griffith, with mouse activity and damage also reported in other areas across the Central West, Darling, Lachlan, Hume and Riverina.

Riverina firefighters have blamed mice for chewing through wire and starting a fire which almost killed a dairy farmer. Six people have also tested positive for a rare disease carried by mice.

Biodefense Scientists Fight Lassa Fever

February 16, 2011 Comments off

Scientists are at work in Sierra Leone studying the rat-carried Lassa fever with the aim of developing a speedy and uncomplicated process for diagnosing the virus in the event of a bioterrorism attack, Reuters reported yesterday (see GSN, Nov. 23, 2010).

A laboratory in Sierra Leone’s southeast is conducting U.S.-funded research on Lassa fever, which is classified as a “category A” pathogen, a designation given to biological agents such as botulism and anthrax that can produce significant health threats.

The disease is found in a particular species of rat that is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa and regularly consumed for Read more…