National Wildlife Health Center

Emerging Wildlife Diseases

The effects of emerging wildlife diseases are global and profound, often resulting in the loss of human lives, economic and agricultural impacts, declines in wildlife populations, and ecological disturbance. The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) works to safeguard our Nation’s wildlife from diseases by studying the causes and drivers of these threats and by developing strategies to prevent and manage them.

Filter Total Items: 11
Date published: December 2, 2019
Status: Active

Native Freshwater Mussel Health

Native freshwater mussels are a keystone species and are considered both ecosystem engineers, improving habitat for other species, and indicator species important in assessing the health of the ecosystem.

Contacts: Susan Knowles
Date published: September 30, 2019
Status: Active

Algal Toxins and Wildlife Health

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) have the potential to harm fish and wildlife, domestic animals, livestock, and humans through toxin production or ecological disturbances such as oxygen depletion and blockage of sunlight.

Contacts: Robert Dusek
Date published: June 1, 2019
Status: Active

Chronic Wasting Disease

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an emerging infectious disease that is fatal to free-ranging and captive animals in Cervidae, the deer family. CWD is one member of a family of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs), and is thought to be caused by prions. CWD is the only TSE known to affect free-ranging wildlife. 

Date published: July 24, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Influenza

Avian influenza is a viral disease caused by various strains of avian influenza viruses that can be classified as low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) or highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).  It remains a global disease with potential high consequence with the potential to threaten wildlife, agriculture, and human health. 

Date published: April 10, 2018
Status: Active

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal)

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) is an emerging pathogen capable of causing significant morbidity and mortality in salamanders.

Date published: February 26, 2018
Status: Active

Marine Invertebrate Diseases

Coral reefs worldwide are under tremendous stress primarily due to human activities along the coasts. While climate change, over fishing, and coastal development have been implicated as a major cause of coral reef decline, diseases seem to play an increasing role.

Contacts: Thierry M Work
Date published: February 25, 2018
Status: Active

Sea Turtle Diseases

Sea turtles are one of the oldest groups of reptiles and are found worldwide. There are seven species of sea turtles in the world, and Hawaii has two of them, the hawksbill and the far more numerous green turtle. Threats to turtles include by-catch from fisheries activity, over harvesting of eggs on nesting beaches, and disease. Of the latter, the most significant disease of sea turtles is...

Contacts: Thierry M Work, T. Todd Jones, Ph.D.
Date published: February 24, 2018
Status: Active

Snake Fungal Disease

Snake fungal disease is an emerging infectious disease, confirmed in numerous species of snakes, caused by the fungus Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola.

Contacts: Jeffrey M Lorch
Date published: February 23, 2018
Status: Active

Sylvatic Plague

Sylvatic plague, caused by Yersinia pestis, is a bacterial disease transmitted by fleas that afflicts many mammalian species, including humans.

Contacts: Tonie Rocke
Date published: February 1, 2018
Status: Active

White-Nose Syndrome

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is an emergent disease of hibernating bats that has spread from the northeastern across United States at an alarming rate.

Date published: January 1, 2018
Status: Active

Vector-Borne Diseases

Vector-borne diseases are transmitted from one animal to another by vectors, including insects, such as mosquitoes or fleas, and arachnids, such as ticks. The USGS National Wildlife Health Center investigates wildlife diseases, including vector-borne diseases, such as West Nile virus and sylvatic plague.