National Wildlife Health Center

Data and Tools

The integrated, interdisciplinary science branches of the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) develop various data and tools to help understand the dynamics of diseases on wildlife populations. Below are scientific data, data portals, and tools available from the NWHC.

WHISPers: data on wildlife disease events

WHISPers: data on wildlife disease events

WHISPers is a partner-driven, web-based repository for sharing basic information about historic and ongoing wildlife mortality (death) and morbidity (illness) events in North America.

Go to WHISPers
Filter Total Items: 64
Date published: May 12, 2021

Data from pathology of Lagovirus europaeus GI.2/RHDV2/b (rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2) in native North American lagomorphs

Rabbit hemorrhagic disease, a notifiable foreign animal disease in the USA, was reported for the first time in wild native North American rabbits and hares in April 2020 in the southwestern USA. Affected species included the Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii), Mountain Cottontail (S. nutallii), Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus), and Antelope Jackrabbit (L. alleni).

Date published: April 21, 2021

Confirmed cases of snake fungal disease in historical museum specimens

Snake fungal disease (SFD) represents a conservation threat to wild snake populations. The disease was reported in North America early in the 21st century, but the history of SFD has not been investigated. We examined museum specimens and confirmed cases of SFD based on clinical signs, histopathologic lesions, and detection of the causative agent Ophidiomyces ophidiicola.

Date published: April 13, 2021

Domoic acid and saxitoxin in seabirds from California and Rhode Island 2015-2017

As harmful algal blooms (HABs) increase in magnitude and duration worldwide, they are becoming an expanding threat to marine wildlife. Over the past decade, domoic acid (DA) and saxitoxin (STX) have been increasingly problematic bicoastally in the United States.

Date published: March 24, 2021

Sea star wasting disease pathology

Sea star wasting disease (SSWD) is a suite of poorly described non-specific clinical signs including abnormal posture, epidermal ulceration, and limb autotomy (sloughing) causing mortalities of over 20 species of sea stars and subsequent ecological shifts throughout the northeastern Pacific.

Date published: November 16, 2020

Data on blood cells of the collector urchin, Tripneustes gratilla

Echinoderms such as urchins are important in marine ecosystems, particularly as grazers, and unhealthy urchins can have important ecological implications. For instance, unexplained mortalities of Diadema sp. in the Caribbean were followed by algal overgrowth and subsequent collapse of coral reef ecosystems. Unfortunately few tools exist to evaluate echinoderm health making management of mo...

Date published: October 2, 2020

Skin mycobiomes of eastern North American bats

North American bats have experienced catastrophic population declines from white-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease caused by Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd). Although Pd can infect many hibernating bat species, population-level impacts of WNS vary by host species. Microbial skin assemblages, including the fungal component (mycobiome), can influence host resistance to inf

Date published: September 16, 2020

Immunological histopathology of American kestrels (Falco sparverius) exposed in ovo to two persistent organic pollutants -- SCCPs and TBBPA-BDBPE

This work is part of a study of the immunological effects of exposure to alternative flame retardants in avian species. For the pathology portion of the study, spleens and bursas from American kestrels (Falco sparverius) exposed by egg injection to varying doses of short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) and the flame retardant TBBPA-BDBPE were examined microscopically for architectur

Date published: September 16, 2020

Immunological histopathology of American kestrels (Falco sparverius) exposed to the flame retardant isopropyl triphenyl phosphate

This work is part of a study of the immunological effects of exposure to alternative flame retardants in avian species. For the pathology portion of the study, hatchling American kestrels (Falco sparverius) were exposed to the flame retardant isopropyl triphenyl phosphate (ITP) and then challenged with a synthetic analogue of viral double-stranded RNA, polyinosinic:polycytidylic aci

Date published: September 11, 2020

Necropsy reference number and summary collection information for Washington state population of northern sea otters examined during 1989-2010

Morbillivirus epidemics in marine mammals first gained prominence in 1988 when an outbreak of phocine distemper virus (PDV) occurred in European harbor seals (Phoca vitulina vitulina). Prior to 2001, all serosurveys for morbilliviruses in sea otters (Enhydra lutris) in California, Washington and Alaska documented a 0% seroprevalence. The first published serodetections of morbi

Date published: September 11, 2020

Fleas collected from black-tailed prairie dog burrows in 2016 and 2017

The data are a list of the number and species of fleas that were collected from black-tailed prairie dog burrows in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, and New Mexico. Fleas were collected by swabbing ~100 burrows at 3 sites at each of 6 sites. Burrows were sampled twice each summer during 2016 and 2017.

Date published: September 4, 2020

Histopathology of bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) exposed to Nannizziopsis guarroi

This work is part of a study demonstrating that the fungus Nannizziopsis guarroi is the cause of the disease known as yellow fungus disease in bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) by fulfilling Koch’s postulates. In this study, bearded dragons were exposed to N. guarroi to assess gross and microscopic lesion development and the ability to re-culture the fungus from infected sites. At

Date published: July 8, 2020

Plague causes fragmentation of prairie dog colonies in Conata Basin, South Dakota from 1993 – 2015

This data was used to investigate the invasion of a non-native disease, plague, to a keystone species, prairie dogs, in Conata Basin, South Dakota, United States. We documented the resulting extent of fragmentation and habitat loss in western grasslands using colony boundaries mapped by the USFS every one to three years from 1993 - 2015. Specifically, we assessed how the arrival of