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      Diclofenac residues as the cause of vulture population decline in Pakistan

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          Abstract

          The Oriental white-backed vulture (OWBV; Gyps bengalensis) was once one of the most common raptors in the Indian subcontinent. A population decline of >95%, starting in the 1990s, was first noted at Keoladeo National Park, India. Since then, catastrophic declines, also involving Gyps indicus and Gyps tenuirostris, have continued to be reported across the subcontinent. Consequently these vultures are now listed as critically endangered by BirdLife International. In 2000, the Peregrine Fund initiated its Asian Vulture Crisis Project with the Ornithological Society of Pakistan, establishing study sites at 16 OWBV colonies in the Kasur, Khanewal and Muzaffargarh-Layyah Districts of Pakistan to measure mortality at over 2,400 active nest sites. Between 2000 and 2003, high annual adult and subadult mortality (5-86%) and resulting population declines (34-95%) (ref. 5 and M.G., manuscript in preparation) were associated with renal failure and visceral gout. Here, we provide results that directly correlate residues of the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac with renal failure. Diclofenac residues and renal disease were reproduced experimentally in OWBVs by direct oral exposure and through feeding vultures diclofenac-treated livestock. We propose that residues of veterinary diclofenac are responsible for the OWBV decline.

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          Most cited references19

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          Pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment: agents of subtle change?

          During the last three decades, the impact of chemical pollution has focused almost exclusively on the conventional "priority" pollutants, especially those acutely toxic/carcinogenic pesticides and industrial intermediates displaying persistence in the environment. This spectrum of chemicals, however, is only one piece of the larger puzzle in "holistic" risk assessment. Another diverse group of bioactive chemicals receiving comparatively little attention as potential environmental pollutants includes the pharmaceuticals and active ingredients in personal care products (in this review collectively termed PPCPs), both human and veterinary, including not just prescription drugs and biologics, but also diagnostic agents, "nutraceuticals," fragrances, sun-screen agents, and numerous others. These compounds and their bioactive metabolites can be continually introduced to the aquatic environment as complex mixtures via a number of routes but primarily by both untreated and treated sewage. Aquatic pollution is particularly troublesome because aquatic organisms are captive to continual life-cycle, multigenerational exposure. The possibility for continual but undetectable or unnoticed effects on aquatic organisms is particularly worrisome because effects could accumulate so slowly that major change goes undetected until the cumulative level of these effects finally cascades to irreversible change--change that would otherwise be attributed to natural adaptation or ecologic succession. As opposed to the conventional, persistent priority pollutants, PPCPs need not be persistent if they are continually introduced to surface waters, even at low parts-per-trillion/parts-per-billion concentrations (ng-microg/L). Even though some PPCPs are extremely persistent and introduced to the environment in very high quantities and perhaps have already gained ubiquity worldwide, others could act as if they were persistent, simply because their continual infusion into the aquatic environment serves to sustain perpetual life-cycle exposures for aquatic organisms. This review attempts to synthesize the literature on environmental origin, distribution/occurrence, and effects and to catalyze a more focused discussion in the environmental science community.
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            Identification and subtyping of avian influenza viruses by reverse transcription-PCR.

            Avian influenza viruses have 15 different hemagglutinin (HA) subtypes (H1-H15). We report a procedure for the identification and HA-subtyping of avian influenza virus by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR). The avian influenza virus is identified by RT-PCR using a set of primers specific to the nucleoprotein (NP) gene of avian influenza virus. The HA-subtypes of avian influenza virus were determined by running simultaneously 15 RT-PCR reactions, each using a set of primers specific to one HA-subtype. For a single virus strain or isolate, only one of the 15 RT-PCR reactions will give a product of expected size, and thus the HA-subtype of the virus is determined. The result of HA-subtyping was then confirmed by sequence analysis of the PCR product. A total of 80 strains or isolates of avian influenza viruses were subtyped by this RT-PCR procedure, and the result of RT-PCR gave an excellent (100%) correlation with the result of the conventional serological method. The RT-PCR procedure we developed is rapid and sensitive, and could be used for the identification and HA-subtyping of avian influenza virus in organ homogenates.
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              Pathology of Fatal West Nile Virus Infections in Native and Exotic Birds during the 1999 Outbreak in New York City, New York

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                February 2004
                January 28 2004
                February 2004
                : 427
                : 6975
                : 630-633
                Article
                10.1038/nature02317
                14745453
                80f817c7-f822-45fa-ac44-66477d222e7d
                © 2004

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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