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Vaccination program for pet dogs may not fully prevent lion infections in Serengeti

Photo courtesy Meggan Craft

In June 2014, Health Talk first shared that a virus carried by domestic dogs is threatening the health of wild cats like the Serengeti lion. Now, in an update to that research, new findings led by the University of Glasgow and co-authored by the University of Minnesota suggest vaccinating domestic dogs against this virus, known as canine distemper, is not enough to keep Serengeti lions and their cohabitants, the endangered African wild dog, safe from infection.

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UMN finding helps scientists better understand DNA binding protein’s role in vaccination success

Photo: CC 2.0/National Institutes of Health

T-cells are essential to keeping our bodies safe from infection and disease. They roam the body looking for infection, and upon discovering it, work to clean it up. Anything that can improve how effective T-cells are, or how we understand them to work is a step toward advancing human health.

In the same vein, a recent finding led by University of Minnesota researchers in collaboration with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of California unveils a new understanding of T-cell operation.

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UMN research finds room for improvement in Latin American & Caribbean food safety safeguards

Photo: Maize harvest/Neil Palmer CIAT/CC 2.0/

Food safety standards can be shaky at best in developing Caribbean and Latin American regions. In 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated at least one-third of individuals in developing countries likely contract a foodborne illness each year. And with Latin America and the Caribbean forecasted to play a growing role in global food production and exports in the coming years, that high rate of foodborne illness is one worth paying attention to.

University of Minnesota food safety risk analyst and assistant professor, Fernando Sampedro Parra, Ph.D., has focused his sights on the problem and recently conducted first-of-its-kind research for the region.

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Rat poisoning’s secondary effects can harm Minnesota owls

Great horned owl photo by Amber Burnette

Winter can invite household nuisances like mice and rats inside along with unwelcome gnawing habits, putrid droppings and disease. But as you look to eradicate vermin from your house this winter, The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota invites you to take a moment and pause.

Your choice between rat poison and an old-school snap trap could impact human, pet and wildlife health.

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Advanced practice nurses gain new rights in Minnesota

Mary Chesney, Ph.D., R.N., director of the University of Minnesota Doctor of Nursing Practice Program displays her new license.

This month in Minnesota, advanced practice nurses gained new authority to practice. State requirements mandating a collaborative practice agreement between a physician and an advanced practice nurse are no longer required for nurses who meet the state’s new licensing and certification standards. The changes could benefit both metro-area and rural Minnesota communities by increasing access to the expertise of advanced practice nurses and opportunities to visit nurse-led primary care clinics.

The changes come as primary care access across Minnesota enters a critical stage, with a shortage of as many as 850 primary care physicians expected within the next ten years, according to the Minnesota Hospital Association.

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Searching for ways to eliminate invasive rats, without adding new threats to island ecosystems

A black rat sits upright on the ground. Etching by W. S. Howitt.

Invasive rodents are a problem for oceanic islands throughout the world. Rats transported by sea-faring humans from landmass to landmass plague ecosystems off the coast of Australia and in the Hawaiian and Galápagos Islands. Rats can endanger native species, damage agriculture crops and even prevent trees from re-growing. Efforts to remove the invasive species, however, sometimes result in their own unintended consequences.

“You can’t just remove 70 percent or 90 percent,” said Julia Ponder, D.V.M., executive director of The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. “You have to remove 100 percent of the invasive species, and that’s what makes it so hard. There’s no margin of error and eradication efforts are expensive.”

Eradication efforts can put other species such as birds at risk, too.

That’s why Ponder became involved in research recently published in the journal Biological Conservation.

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