As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Chile: Owls drafted in to fight deadly hantavirus

Officials in Chile are turning to an unlikely ally - wild owls - as they try to fight a contagious disease that has already caused about 15 deaths, it seems.

Owls are the natural predators of the rats carrying the deadly hantavirus, the Santiago Times newspaper reports. Long-tailed pygmy rice rats transmit the virus to humans as they come into contact with campers in the forest, while foraging for bamboo.

But forest fires during Chile's summer months have forced the rats into urban areas, making more people sick. The disease does not affect the rats themselves.

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