Fish & Wildlife Disease

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USGS is the lead Federal agency for wildlife disease research and surveillance. Our wildlife health capabilities provide research, information, and technical assistance needed to manage wildlife through disease events. Congress and our partners rely on our science to make informed decisions about fish and wildlife disease policy, planning and management.

Bsal a Threat to Vulnerable Amphibian Hosts

Bsal a Threat to Vulnerable Amphibian Hosts

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) in Appalachia: Using Scenario Building to Proactively Prepare for a Wildlife Disease Outbreak Caused by an Invasive Amphibian Chytrid Fungus

View the publication

USGS Response to White-Nose Syndrome in Bats

USGS Response to White-Nose Syndrome in Bats

USGS science has been a critical part of understanding, and responding to, white-nose syndrome. Learn more about the USGS response in this new fact sheet.

Read it here

News

Date published: November 9, 2018

Multi-Partner Workshop Highlights Science Actions for a Potential Wildlife Disease Outbreak

A new USGS Open-File Report outlines findings from a scenario building workshop on a wildlife disease, facilitated by the Department of the Interior’s Strategic Sciences Group (SSG) and led by the USGS. 

Date published: October 26, 2018

A Unified Research Strategy for Disease Management

As wildlife diseases increase globally, an understanding of host-pathogen relationships can elucidate avenues for management and improve conservation efficacy. Amphibians are among the most threatened groups of wildlife, and disease is a major factor in global amphibian declines.

Date published: September 18, 2018

Science for a Risky World: A USGS Plan for Risk Research and Applications – USGS publishes strategic plan for examining risk

USGS explores opportunities to advance its capabilities in risk assessment, mitigation, and communication in new strategic plan.

Filter Total Items: 68
Date published: February 26, 2019
Status: Active

Mycobacteriosis among northern snakehead fish in the Potomac River

Mycobacteriosis among northern snakehead fish in the Potomac River

Date published: February 26, 2019
Status: Active

Avian influenza virus in the aquatic environment: Surveillance in waterfowl habitat on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Avian influenza virus in the aquatic environment: Surveillance in waterfowl habitat on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Date published: October 23, 2018
Status: Active

Assessment of the immune status of wild and laboratory-maintained smallmouth bass

Deaths of young-of-year smallmouth bass in the Chesapeake Bay drainage has been noted since 2005. Studies of affected fish have found bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. Mixed infections suggest these fish are immunosuppressed. Understanding the role of specific pathogens and environmental factors that contribute to their presence is important but equally important is the understanding...

Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Effects of Nanophyetus salmincola on the Health and Survival of Puget Sound Steelhead

Low early marine survival rates of Puget Sound steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), the state fish of Washington, have contributed to its dramatic population decline and current listing as a “Threatened Species” under the Endangered Species Act. Determining the cause(s) of this elevated mortality remains a primary objective of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, a large US / Canada effort...

Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Genomic Mechanisms that Underlie Lack of Recovery of Prince William Sound Herring Following the 1990s Collapse

In the decades following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill (EVOS), it has become increasingly apparent that oil can be toxic at extremely low concentrations to developing fish embryos including herring, where some toxic phenotypes may be apparent during embryogenesis, but some are delayed until later in life. Therefore, acute and lingering oil may act as an insidious selective force within...

Contacts: Paul Hershberger, Ph.D., Jacob Gregg, Ashley MacKenzie, William Richards, Andrew Whitehead, John Incardona, Nat Scholtz
Date published: October 18, 2018
Status: Active

Herring Disease Program

Using an approach that involves a combination of field- and laboratory-based studies, we are investigating fish health factors that may be contributing to the failed recovery of Pacific herring populations in Prince William Sound, AK.  Field studies are providing infection and disease prevalence data to inform the population models, serological data that indicate the prior exposure history and...

Date published: August 29, 2018
Status: Active

Molecular Characterization of Novel Fish Viruses from Technical Assistance Cases

Viruses occur in many cultured and wild stocks of fish. William Batts collaborates with many government, state, tribal, and private research and diagnostic laboratories to aid in identification of these unknown replicating agents of uncertain pathogenicity. Typically, viruses can be replicated in a variety of fish cell lines and investigated at several temperatures to see if the cytopathic...

Contacts: William N Batts
Date published: August 24, 2018
Status: Active

Ichthyobodo - HSL

Fish Diseases

Ichthyobodo

Date published: August 20, 2018
Status: Active

Investigation and Disease Prevention of Spring Viremia of Carp Virus (SVCV)

There has been long history of disease outbreaks and economic losses in wild and farmed carp species due to SVCV. Formerly thought to be restricted to Europe and Asia, SVCV was detected for the first time in North America from diseased koi at a North Carolina fish farm in 2002, and there were extensive eradication efforts with 135,000 fish euthanized in addition to the ~15,000 that died from...

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: July 24, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Influenza Surveillance

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) serves on the U.S. Interagency Steering Committee for Surveillance for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Wild Birds to standardize surveillance for this disease and is a leading partner in conducting morbidity and mortality investigations in support of the Interagency Strategic Plan for Early Detection and Monitoring for Avian Influenzas of...

Date published: July 23, 2018
Status: Active

Index of Wildlife Disease Information Resources

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) provides the following index of wildlife disease information resources as a starting point to learn about selected wildlife diseases. The index includes informational web pages and communications and outreach products from the NWHC. To search for scientific literature, please visit the USGS Publications...

Filter Total Items: 44
Date published: May 1, 2019

Virally-vectored vaccine candidates against white-nose syndrome induce anti-fungal immune response in little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus)

White-nose syndrome (WNS) caused by the fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) has killed millions of North American insect-eating bats. Currently, methods to prevent the disease are limited. We conducted two trials to assess potential WNS vaccine candidates in wild-caught Myotis lucifugus. In a pilot study, we immunized bats with one of four vaccine treatments or PBS as a control and...

Date published: April 30, 2019

Plague positive mouse fleas on mice prior to plague outbreaks in black-tailed and white-tailed prairie dogs

In 2013, a large blinded, paired placebo-controlled field trial for the prairie dog oral sylvatic plague vaccine started in the Western US. On 17 paired plots, vaccine and placebo plots, small rodents were trapped annually for 3-5 consecutive nights (when weather allowed) and high elevation Utah plots where plague was active were more frequently trapped in 2014 and 2015. In the dataset the...

Date published: February 5, 2019

Pathology and bacteriology of 178 tadpoles with histologically confirmed Severe Perkinsea Infections: Data

(i) This dataset presents macroscopic and microscopic pathological findings and bacteriology of 178 tadpoles diagnosed with Severe Perkinsea Infections. (ii) Specimen were collected and submitted to the NWHC as part of mortality investigations and collection of specimen from apparently healthy populations as part of ongoing amphibian health monitoring. (iii) Necropsies and gross evaluation of...

Date published: January 1, 2019

Amphibian capture mark-recapture

These data represent capture mark recapture data along with associated disease status for boreal toads (Anaxyrus boreas) from Wyoming and Montana from 2004-2016 and four frog species (Rana draytonii, R. muscosa, R. pretiosa, R. sierrae) from 2001-2016.

Date published: August 20, 2018

Experimental infection of Tadarida brasiliensis with the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome: hibernation data

This dataset includes skin temperatures of twelve Tadarida brasiliensis held in environmental chambers maintained at 7.7 (SD 0.9) °C and 91.8 (SD 0.8) % relative humidity to induce and support hibernation for up to 3 months. Bats were randomly assigned to infected and control groups at the start of the experiment and infected with conidia of Pseudogymnoascus destructans or a sham...

Date published: August 20, 2018

Sylvatic plague vaccine field trials flea data

These data were collected as part of a field trial to test the efficacy of a sylvatic plague vaccine (see Rocke et al., 2017 for details). Vaccine and control plots were selected randomly from the available sites at each location. At least 1 week and no more than 2 months post-baiting each year, local collaborators captured, marked and sampled prairie dogs for a minimum of 3 trap days. Both...

Date published: August 1, 2018

Impact of the oral Sylvatic Plague Vaccine on Non-target Small Rodents: Data

In 2013, a large blinded, paired placebo-controlled field trial for the prairie dog oral sylvatic plague vaccine started in the Western US. On 17 paired plots, vaccine and placebo plots, small rodents were trapped annually for 3-5 consecutive nights (when weather allowed). Up on capture, we documented the trap numbers and the processed animals. We noted standard biological information (species...

Date published: July 1, 2018

Wildlife Health Bulletins

Wildlife Health Bulletins are distributed to natural resource/conservation agencies to provide and promote information exchange about significant wildlife health threats. 

Date published: April 16, 2018

Occurrence of Chlamydia sp in apparently healthy birds associated with a mortality event caused by chlamydiosis: Data

These data sets are is a compilation of bird and environmental samples obtained from 6 sites in Maricopa County, Arizona on the dates shown. Sites were only visited and sampled if they had Rosy-cheeked lovebirds coming to bird feeders at the location and with the permission of the property owner. Two swab samples were obtained from each captured bird and 3 swab samples were collected from the...

Date published: April 5, 2018

Corallimorph Invasion Palmyra: Data

In 2007, a phase shift from corals to corallimorpharians (CM) was documented at Palmyra Atoll, Line Islands, centered around a shipwreck. Subsequent surveys revealed CM to be overgrowing the reef benthos, including corals and coralline algae, potentially placing coral ecosystems in the atoll at risk. This prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the lead management agency of the atoll,...

Date published: March 13, 2018

Wildlife Health Information Sharing Partnership – event reporting system (WHISPers)

The NWHC developed the Wildlife Health Information Sharing Partnership – event reporting system (WHISPers) to increase public awareness of wildlife disease events and promote collaboration and data sharing among wildlife professionals. It is a partner driven tool that provides a dynamic, timely, searchable web-based system for visualizing and accessing data on wildlife disease events...

Date published: March 7, 2018

West Nile virus susceptibility of American singer canaries: Data

Three datasets are included: 1) survival of domesticated canaries and American crows following sub-cutaneous challenges ranging from 101 – 105 plaque forming units of West Nile virus. 2) Arbitrary units of WNV detected by RT-PCR or plaque forming units of WNV cultured in vero cells in 4 separate studies. Culture results are indicated for each day post WNV challenge. 3) Weight (mass)...

Filter Total Items: 5
Date published: June 17, 2019

Chronic Wasting Disease Map

Reported distribution of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in North America. 

Date published: May 8, 2019

White-Nose Syndrome Occurrence Map

View current and archived maps of white-nose syndrome occurrence by county/district.

Date published: July 5, 2018

Wildlife Health Information Sharing Partnership – event reporting system (WHISPers)

The NWHC developed the Wildlife Health Information Sharing Partnership – event reporting system (WHISPers) to increase public awareness of wildlife disease events and promote collaboration and data sharing among wildlife professionals. It is a partner driven tool that provides a dynamic, timely, searchable web-based system for visualizing and accessing data on wildlife disease events nationwide.

Date published: April 3, 2018

Sea Star Wasting Syndrome Map

The map includes information from Pacific Rocky Intertidal Monitoring surveys as well as information from logs submitted by other researchers, divers, and the general public.

Date published: February 17, 2016

Bsal Risk by County

Heat map of the United States showing the total relative risk of Bsal to native US salamanders based on the introduction and consequences assessment (Richgels et. al. 2016).

Filter Total Items: 284
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Year Published: 2019

Nonlinearities in transmission dynamics and efficient management of vector-borne pathogens

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an approach to minimizing economic and environmental harm caused by pests, and Integrated Vector Management (IVM) uses similar methods to minimize pathogen transmission by vectors. The risk of acquiring a vector-borne infection is often quantified using the density of infected vectors. The relationship between...

Ginsberg, Howard S.; Couret, Jannelle

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Year Published: 2019

Effect of amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) on apparent survival of frogs and toads in the western USA

Despite increasing interest in determining the population-level effects of emerging infectious diseases on wildlife, estimating effects of disease on survival rates remains difficult. Even for a well-studied disease such as amphibian chytridiomycosis (caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [Bd]), there are few estimates of...

Russell, Robin E.; Halstead, Brian J.; Mosher, Brittany; Muths, Erin L.; Adams, Michael J.; Campbell Grant, Evan H.; Fisher, Robert N.; Kleeman, Patrick M.; Backlin, Adam R.; Pearl, Christopher; Honeycutt, R. Ken; Hossack, Blake R.

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Year Published: 2019

The pathogenesis of H7 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)

Waterfowl are the natural hosts of avian influenza virus (AIV), and through migration spread the virus worldwide. Most AIVs carried by wild waterfowl are low pathogenic strains; however, Goose/Guangdong/1996 lineage clade 2.3.4.4 H5 highly pathogenic (HP) AIV now appears to be endemic in wild birds in much of the Eastern Hemisphere. Most research...

Stephens, Christopher B.; Prosser, Diann; Pantin-Jackwood, Mary J.; Berlin, Alicia; Spackman, Erica

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Year Published: 2019

Identifying common decision problem elements for the management of emerging fungal diseases of wildlife

Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) of wildlife have characteristics that make them difficult to manage, leading to reactive and often ineffective management strategies. Currently, two fungal pathogens, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), are causing declines in novel host species. To improve the...

Bernard RF; Campbell Grant, Evan H.

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Year Published: 2019

Virally-vectored vaccine candidates against white-nose syndrome induce anti-fungal immune response in little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus)

White-nose syndrome (WNS) caused by the fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) has killed millions of North American hibernating bats. Currently, methods to prevent the disease are limited. We conducted two trials to assess potential WNS vaccine candidates in wild-caught Myotis lucifugus. In a pilot study, we immunized bats with...

Rocke, Tonie E.; Kingstad-Bakke, Brock; Wuthrich, Marcel; Stading, Ben; Abbott, Rachel C.; Isidoro Ayza, Marcos; Dobson, Hannah E.; dos Santos Dias, Lucas; Galles, Kevin; Lankton, Julia S.; Falendysz, Elizabeth; Lorch, Jeffrey M.; Fites, J. Scott; Lopera-Madrid, Jaime; Klein, Bruce; Osorio, Jorge E.; White, J. Paul

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Year Published: 2019

Phylogeography and evolution of infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus in China

Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) is a well-known rhabdoviral pathogen of salmonid fish. In this study, a comprehensive analysis of 40 IHNV viruses isolated from thirteen fish farms in nine geographically dispersed Chinese provinces during 2012 to 2017 is presented. Identity of nucleotide and amino acid sequences among all the...

Xu, Liming; Zhao, Jingzhuang; Liu, Miao; Kurath, Gael; Breyta, Rachel B.; Ren, Guangming; Yin, Jiasheng; Liu, Hongbai; Lu, Tongyan

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Year Published: 2018

Waterfowl spring migratory behavior and avian influenza transmission risk in the changing landscape of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway

Avian influenza has advanced from a regional concern to a global health issue with significant economic, trade, and public health implications. Wild birds, particularly waterfowl (Anseriformes), are known reservoirs for low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses (AIV) and recent studies have shown their potential in the spread of highly pathogenic...

Sullivan, Jeffery D.; Takekawa, John Y.; Spragens, Kyle A.; Newman, Scott H.; Xiao, Xiangming; Leader, Paul J.; Smith, Bena; Prosser, Diann J.

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Year Published: 2018

Study 11. Effects of Nanophyetus on the swimming performance and survival of steelhead smolts AND studies to understand and manage the Nanophyetus cercaria

Recent field surveillances indicated that outmigrating steelhead smolts in several south Puget Sound watersheds are infected with the digenean trematode Nanophyetus salmonicola at high prevalence and intensity (Chen et al Accepted). The apparent severity of these infections, especially in the Nisqually and Green / Duwamish Rivers, lead to the...

Hershberger, Paul

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Year Published: 2018

A snapshot of women of the U.S. Geological Survey in STEM and related careers

IntroductionThe term “STEM” has been used to group together the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and to describe education and professions related to these fields. The professional fields connected to STEM education are thought of as engineering, medicine, and computer technology. Yet these professional fields are merely...

Aragon-Long, Susan C.; Burkett, Virginia R.; Weyers, Holly S.; Haig, Susan M.; Davenport, Marjorie S.; Warner, Kelly L.
Aragon-Long, S.C., Burkett, V.R., Weyers, H.S., Haig, S.M., Davenport, M.S., and Warner, K.L., 2018, A snapshot of women of the U.S. Geological Survey in STEM and related careers: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1443, 100 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1443.

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Year Published: 2018

U.S. Geological Survey response to white-nose syndrome in bats

OverviewSince its discovery in 2007, the fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS) has killed more than six million bats. Ten of 47 bat species have been affected by WNS across 32 States and 5 Canadian Provinces. The cold-growing fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans) that causes WNS infects skin covering the muzzle, ears, and wings of...

Hopkins, M. Camille ; Soileau, Suzanna C.
Hopkins, M.C., and Soileau, S.C., 2018, U.S. Geological Survey response to white-nose syndrome in bats: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018–3020, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183020.

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Year Published: 2018

Infection by Nanophyetus salmincola and toxic contaminant exposure in out‐migrating steelhead from Puget Sound, Washington: Implications for early marine survival

Out‐migrating steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss from four Puget Sound rivers and associated marine basins of Puget Sound in Washington State were examined for the parasite, Nanophyetus salmincola in 2014 to determine whether recent trends in reduced marine survival are associated with the presence of this pathogen. A subset of...

Chen, M.F.; O'Neill, S. M.; Carey, A. J.; Conrad, R. H.; Stewart, B. A.; Snekvik, K. R.; Ylitalo, G. M.; Hershberger, Paul
Chen, M.F., S.M. O’Neill, A.J. Carey, R.H. Conrad, B.A. Stewart, K.R. Snekvik, G.M. Ylitalo, and P.K. Hershberger. 2018. Infection by Nanophyetus salmincola and toxic contaminant exposure in out‐migrating steelhead from Puget Sound, Washington: Implications for early marine survival. J. Aquat Anim Health 30(2): 103-118.

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Year Published: 2018

An epidemiological model of virus transmission in salmonid fishes of the Columbia River Basin

We have developed a dynamic epidemiological model informed by records of viral presence and genotypes to evaluate potential transmission routes maintaining a viral pathogen in economically and culturally important anadromous fish populations. In the Columbia River Basin, infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV) causes severe disease,...

Ferguson, Paige F. B.; Breyta, Rachel; Brito, Ilana L.; Kurath, Gael; LaDeau, Shannon L.
Ferguson, P.F.B., R. Breyta, I. Brito, G. Kurath, and S.L. LaDeau. 2018. An epidemiological model of virus transmission in salmonid fishes of the Columbia River Basin. Ecol. Model. 377: 1-15.

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Map of North America showing locations where chronic wasting disease has been detected.
June 17, 2019

Distribution of Chronic Wasting Disease in North America

Distribution of Chronic Wasting Disease in North America, updated June 17, 2019.

chronic wasting disease map Jan 2018
January 1, 2018

Chronic Wasting Disease map Jan 2018

Reported distribution of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in North America in 2017: 24 States and 2 Canadian Provinces have reported the disease in free-ranging and captive cervids.

Hibernating little brown bat
December 31, 2017

Hibernating little brown bat

little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) with white-nose syndrome hibernating in a Virginia cave during late spring of 2016. Patches of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome can be seen growing out of the skin (white areas) near the nose and across the folded wing skin of this bat.  Spherical drops of water condensation coat the bat's outer fur, a

...
bat with left wing spread open
May 31, 2017

Examining a bat's wing for white-nose syndrome in Washington

Researchers examine a bat (Myotis sp.) to test for the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome.

Mule deer investigating a game camera in Madison Valley, Montana.
April 8, 2017

Mule deer investigating a game camera in Madison Valley, Montana.

Mule deer investigating a game camera in Madison Valley, Montana.

August 21, 2015

A2 East Transect – 2015

Permanent Site: A2 East Transect; Depth: 12.4 Meters (Feet 40.8); Distance from river mouth: Kilometers 1.8 (1.1 Miles); Pre/Post Dam Removal: 4 years post-dam removal; Lat/Long: 48.14130295, -123.58766124; Site Description: One of our deeper sites at over 40 feet. Sediment is primarily sand/sandy mud. Seaweeds have returned, mainly bull kelp Nereocystis luetkeana (0:14, 0

...
December 31, 2014

Bat Thermal Video

Imagery from temperature-sensing cameras showing bats in hibernation. This new footage suggests that bats who warm up from hibernation together throughout the winter may be better at surviving white nose syndrome, a disease caused by a cold-loving fungus ravaging insect-eating bat populations in the United States and Canada. Locations: Gap Cave,125 Cumberland Gap National

...
Scientist taking enivornmental swab from the side of a cave.
August 3, 2012

Scientist taking environmental sample during WNS surveillance

Scientist taking environmental samples during white-nose syndrome surveillance activities. Lawrence County, OH. August 2012.

Scientist taking sample from the ground with a spoon.
July 24, 2012

Scientist taking environmental samples during WNS surveillance

Scientist taking environmental samples during white-nose syndrome surveillance activities. Breckinridge County, IN. July 2012.

Scientist holding bat while swab is taken from the wing of the bat.
July 18, 2012

Scientist taking a skin swab sample to test for presence of Pd

Scientist taking a skin swab sample to test for presence of Pd.  Monroe County, IN. July 18, 2012.

Bats affected with white-nose syndrome on cave wall.
April 2, 2008

Affected WNS bats in MA mine

Affected WNS bats in MA mine 2008.

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Date published: November 9, 2018

Multi-Partner Workshop Highlights Science Actions for a Potential Wildlife Disease Outbreak

A new USGS Open-File Report outlines findings from a scenario building workshop on a wildlife disease, facilitated by the Department of the Interior’s Strategic Sciences Group (SSG) and led by the USGS. 

Date published: October 26, 2018

A Unified Research Strategy for Disease Management

As wildlife diseases increase globally, an understanding of host-pathogen relationships can elucidate avenues for management and improve conservation efficacy. Amphibians are among the most threatened groups of wildlife, and disease is a major factor in global amphibian declines.

Date published: September 18, 2018

Science for a Risky World: A USGS Plan for Risk Research and Applications – USGS publishes strategic plan for examining risk

USGS explores opportunities to advance its capabilities in risk assessment, mitigation, and communication in new strategic plan.

Date published: July 5, 2017

Hot new imagery of wintering bats suggests a group behavior for battling white-nose syndrome

Hot new imagery from temperature-sensing cameras suggests that bats who warm up from hibernation together throughout the winter may be better at surviving white nose syndrome, a disease caused by a cold-loving fungus ravaging insect-eating bat populations in the United States and Canada.

Date published: July 11, 2016

EarthWord–Morbidity

When you’re not dead yet, but aren’t feeling well either, there’s an EarthWord for that...

Date published: September 15, 2015

Science Confirms Successful Strategy to Protect Threatened Steelhead from Virus

A new and highly effective approach to control a viral pathogen that affects threatened steelhead trout in an Idaho hatchery is documented in a new paper.