Epidemiological Services

Science Center Objects

Professionals at the NWHC include wildlife biologists, veterinarians, statisticians, epidemiologists, and informatics specialists. This multidisciplinary group conducts investigations and disease ecology studies of emerging and recurring priority wildlife diseases, maintains and analyzes comprehensive information on wildlife disease events, and provides response and management consultation and training for external partners.

NWHC Epidemiological Services

The National Wildlife Health Center provides the following services to partners (some may require additional resources):


Technical assistance and consultation for wildlife disease events

Testing for Avian Influenza

NWHC scientist takes a sample from a northern pintail duck (Anas acuta) to be tested for avian influenza. (Credit: Robert Dusek, USGS. Public domain.)

  • Provide recommendations for diagnostic evaluation, including specimen collection and shipment, of wildlife morbidity and mortality events
  • Assist partners with interpretation of the significance and implications of diagnostic findings
  • Provide response and management recommendations to minimize the impact of pathogens and disease on wildlife, domestic animals, humans and the environment
  • Provide field support to assist partners with outbreak investigations (sample and data collection, disease control, risk communication, etc.) to determine cause and contributing factors for new and unusual mortality events


Wildlife disease coordination and training

Measuring sea urchins 1

When it comes to collecting data, sometimes scientists have to look beneath the surface. Here, USGS scientists count and measure sea urchins to better understand the species' demographics off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii. This information will help managers best respond to urchin die-offs, should they occur in the future. (Credit: Dave Forcucci, Undersea Images. Public domain.)

  • Provide partner agencies with information and training materials including workshops, disease contingency plans, and scientific products that address a variety of emerging and recurring wildlife disease issues
  • Serve on technical working groups and committees to address wildlife disease issues of regional or national significance


Wildlife disease monitoring and surveillance

  • Develop and coordinate enhanced surveillance programs for wildlife diseases of importance to USGS and partners
  • Develop and maintain information management systems that facilitate long-term data collections on wildlife morbidity and mortality events and data sharing among partners


Applied wildlife disease ecology investigations

  • Evaluate wildlife disease surveillance programs and disease data systems
  • Provide quantitative and descriptive epidemiological and trend (e.g., spatial and temporal) analyses to partners
  • Collaborate with partners on study design, collection and statistical analysis of data, and interpretation and dissemination of results for wildlife epidemiological studies
  • Develop and conduct collaborative studies to examine wildlife disease transmission dynamics, risk factors to mitigate or prevent wildlife morbidity and mortality, and efficacy of disease control strategies. 


More information on reporting a mortality event and submiting specimens.


Check out WHISPers to search our ongoing investigations.