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.

AFWA/USGS Webinars

AFWA/USGS Webinars

USGS and the Association for Fish and Wildlife Agencies are co-hosting a webinar series on fish and wildlife disease to keep our partners informed about our current disease research and about how USGS science can support disease management efforts.

View a webinar

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: 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...

Filter Total Items: 51
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...

Date published: June 1, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Botulism

Botulism is a natural toxin produced by a bacterium ( Clostridium botulinum ) commonly found in the soil. There are several types of botulism toxin some of which can affect humans who eat improperly canned foods. Birds get their own kind of botulism (Type C in Hawaii) that does not affect humans. Botulism type C is concentrated in aquatic invertebrates that filter feed sediments or...

Contacts: Thierry M Work
Date published: June 1, 2018
Status: Active

Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is caused by a microscopic parasites called a protozoan. The specific name of the protozoan that causes toxoplasmosis is Toxoplasma gondiiT. gondii reproduces in the gut of cats (all members of the Felidae are susceptible). Cats shed the parasite in their feces, and the parasite is ingested by other animals (intermediate hosts) causing disease. Cats can...

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

Disease Ecology and Modeling

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) provides quantitative support and technical assistance to state and federal wildlife managers and partners to better understand or predict the impact of disease on wildlife populations.   

 

Date published: May 24, 2018
Status: Active

Vaccines

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) works on developing various disease management tools, including the development of vaccines. Our current work focuses on vaccines for sylvatic plague, white-nose syndrome, and rabies as disease control strategies.

Contacts: Tonie Rocke
Date published: May 23, 2018
Status: Active

Technology Development and Innovation

To provide the next generation of wildlife disease tools, that can move past detection and documentation and towards solutions for wildlife disease problems, the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) is developing a suite of new or adapted technology. Primarily, these technologies focus on three areas of improvement in the realm of wildlife disease: prediction and prevention, surveillance for...

Date published: May 18, 2018
Status: Active

Report Mortality Events and Submit Specimens

Find all required forms, instructions, and guidelines for submitting specimens to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC).

Date published: April 10, 2018
Status: Active

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) Surveillance

Scientists of the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) in collaboration with partners have developed risk assessments for Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) in the United States and have begun sampling high-risk locations for the fungus.

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: April 5, 2018
Status: Active

Sylvatic Plague

Sylvatic plague is a flea-borne bacterial disease of wild rodents. Humans, pets, and wildlife can be afflicted with this disease.  Prairie dogs are highly susceptible to plague and are the primary food source of the highly endangered black-footed ferret, which is also susceptible to the disease. Sylvatic plague can decimate prairie dog colonies (90% or greater mortality rates), resulting in...

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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: 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 6, 2018

Weighted Surveillance for Detection of Chronic Wasting Disease

This application provides an easy-to-use interface for conducting weighted surveillance for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in white-tailed deer populations. The first tool called 'Design' is used for planning weighted surveillance activities. The second tool called 'Estimation' is for use after sampling for CWD detection has occurred and no positive cases were found.

Date published: March 2, 2018

Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases

Access field manual resources from the National Wildlife Health Center.

Date published: March 1, 2018

Quarterly Mortality Reports

National Wildlife Health Center produces quarterly mortality reports, containing information about wildlife mortality events throughout the United States and on occasion across North America.

Date published: February 1, 2018

NWHC reports to AFWA and WAFWA

Access NWHC reports to the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

Date published: January 15, 2018

Medical Wallet Card for Wildlife Professionals

Biologists working with wildlife may be exposed to a variety of disease agents. NWHC has developed a wallet card that wildlife professionals can carry with them to alert medical personnel about potential exposure to zoonotic diseases. Contact information is provided for the Centers for Disease Control for the occurrence of zoonotic diseases in humans.

Date published: January 1, 2018

List of Species Affected by H5N1 (Avian Influenza)

List of species affected by H5N1 avian influenza (excel file).

Date published: July 27, 2017

An Online Database for IHN Virus in Pacific Salmonid Fish: MEAP-IHNV

The Molecular Epidemiology of Aquatic Pathogens (MEAP)-IHNV Database

The MEAP-IHNV database provides access to detailed data for anyone interested in IHNV molecular epidemiology, such as fish health professionals, fish culture facility managers, and academic researchers.

Date published: July 6, 2017

Standardization and Application of an Index of Community Integrity for Waterbirds in the Chesapeake Bay

This data set is comprised of five files related to the modification and scoring of Index of Waterbird Community Integrity (IWCI) scores for all waterbirds of the Chesapeake Bay. One Excel file (A) contains a list of 100+ Chesapeake waterbird species and their species attribute and IWCI scores.

Date published: March 28, 2017

Low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses in wild migratory waterfowl in a region of high poultry production, Delmarva, Maryland

This data set is comprised of four files related to the biosurveillance of low pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAIV) in migratory waterfowl at 22 locations in the Maryland portion of the Delmarva Peninsula in fall/winter of 2013-2014. 

Date published: January 1, 2011

Lake Michigan Volunteer AMBLE – Avian Monitoring for Botulism Lakeshore Events

The National Wildlife Health Center, with help from partners and support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, organized “Lake Michigan Volunteer AMBLE – Avian Monitoring for Botulism Lakeshore Events” in 2011. The goal of AMBLE was to empower concerned citizens to monitor bird health and beach conditions along the Lake Michigan shoreline, thus increasing knowledge of avian botulism...

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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: July 2, 2018

White-nose syndrome occurrence map

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

Date published: May 1, 2018

Chronic Wasting Disease Map

Reported distribution of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in North America.  This map is regularly updated to reflect new findings.

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).

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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.

Year Published: 2018

Imperfect pathogen detection from non-invasive skin swabs biases disease inference

1. Conservation managers rely on accurate estimates of disease parameters, such as pathogen prevalence and infection intensity, to assess disease status of a host population. However, these disease metrics may be biased if low-level infection intensities are missed by sampling methods or laboratory diagnostic tests. These false negatives...

DiRenzo, Graziella V.; Grant, Evan H. Campbell; Longo, Ana; Che-Castaldo, Christian; Zamudio, Kelly R.; Lips, Karen
DiRenzo, G. V., Grant, E. H. C., Longo, A. V., Che-Castaldo, C., Zamudio, K. R., and Lips, K. R., 2018, Imperfect pathogen detection from non-invasive skin swabs biases disease inference: Methods in Ecology and Evolution, v. 9, no. 2, p. 380-389. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.12868

Year Published: 2018

Land use diversification and intensification on elk winter range in Greater Yellowstone: A framework and agenda for social-ecological research

Amenity migration describes the movement of peoples to rural landscapes and the transition toward tourism and recreation and away from production-oriented land uses (ranching, timber harvesting). The resulting mosaic of land uses and community structures has important consequences for wildlife and their management. This research note examines...

Haggerty, Julia Hobson; Epstein, Kathleen; Stone, Michael; Cross, Paul

Year Published: 2017

Field efficacy trials with sylvatic plague vaccine

These data were collected as part of a field trial to test the efficacy of a sylvatic plague vaccine. Treatment and control sites were selected randomly from the available sites at each location. Site pairs were a minimum of 20 acres, (with a few exceptions). Prairie dog trapping took place a minimum of two weeks post-baiting and trapping...

Richgels, Katherine; Russell, Robin E.; Rocke, Tonie E.
Katherine Richgels, Robin Russell, and Tonie Rocke, 2017, Field efficacy trials with sylvatic plague vaccine: U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7B56GXM.

Year Published: 2017

Early action to address an emerging wildlife disease

A deadly fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) that affects amphibian skin was discovered during a die-off of European fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) in 2014. This pathogen has the potential to worsen already severe worldwide amphibian declines. Bsal is a close relative to another fungal disease known as...

Adams, Michael J.; Harris, M. Camille; Grear, Daniel A.
Adams, M.J., Harris, M.C., and Grear, D.A., 2017, Early action to address an emerging wildlife disease: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017-3013, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173013.

Year Published: 2017

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center: Advancing wildlife and ecosystem health

In 1975, the Federal government responded to the need for establishing national expertise in wildlife health by creating the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC), a facility within the Department of the Interior; the NWHC is the only national center dedicated to wildlife disease detection, control, and prevention. Its mission is to provide...

Moede Rogall, Gail; Sleeman, Jonathan M.
Moede Rogall, Gail, and Sleeman, J.M., 2017, The USGS National Wildlife Health Center: Advancing wildlife and ecosystem health: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3102, 6 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20163102.

Year Published: 2016

Optimizing surveillance for South American origin influenza A viruses along the United States Gulf Coast through genomic characterization of isolates from blue-winged teal (Anas discors)

Relative to research focused on intercontinental viral exchange between Eurasia and North America, less attention has been directed towards understanding the redistribution of influenza A viruses (IAVs) by wild birds between North America and South America. In this study, we genomically characterized 45 viruses isolated from blue-winged teal (Anas...

Ramey, Andrew M.; Walther, Patrick; Link, Paul Karl; Poulson, Rebecca L.; Wilcox, Benjamin R.; Newsome, George M.; Spackman, Erica; Brown, J.; Stallknecht, David E.
Ramey, A. M., P. Walther, P. Link, R. L. Poulson, B. R. Wilcox, G. M. Newsome, E. Spackman, J. D. Brown, and D. E. Stallknecht. 2014. Optimizing surveillance for South American origin influenza A viruses along the United States Gulf Coast through genomic characterization of isolates from Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors). Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, doi:10.1111/tbed.12244

Year Published: 2015

State-space modeling to support management of brucellosis in the Yellowstone bison population

The bison (Bison bison) of the Yellowstone ecosystem, USA, exemplify the difficulty of conserving large mammals that migrate across the boundaries of conservation areas. Bison are infected with brucellosis (Brucella abortus) and their seasonal movements can expose livestock to infection. Yellowstone National Park has embarked on a program of...

Hobbs, N. Thompson; Geremia, Chris; Treanor, John; Wallen, Rick; White, P.J.; Hooten, Mevin B.; Rhyan, Jack C.

Year Published: 2015

Estimating the short-term recovery potential of little brown bats in the eastern United States in the face of White-nose syndrome

White-nose syndrome (WNS) was first detected in North American bats in New York in 2006. Since that time WNS has spread throughout the northeastern United States, southeastern Canada, and southwest across Pennsylvania and as far west as Missouri. Suspect WNS cases have been identified in Minnesota and Iowa, and the causative agent of WNS (...

Russell, Robin E.; Thogmartin, Wayne E.; Erickson, Richard A.; Szymanski, Jennifer A.; Tinsley, Karl

Year Published: 2015

Avian malaria in Hawaiian forest birds: Infection and population impacts across species and elevations

Wildlife diseases can present significant threats to ecological systems and biological diversity, as well as domestic animal and human health. However, determining the dynamics of wildlife diseases and understanding the impact on host populations is a significant challenge. In Hawai‘i, there is ample circumstantial evidence that introduced...

Samuel, Michael D.; Woodworth, Bethany L.; Atkinson, Carter T.; Hart, P. J.; LaPointe, Dennis

Year Published: 2015

The dynamics of avian influenza in western Arctic snow geese: implications for annual and migratory infection patterns

Wild water birds are the natural reservoir for low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses (AIV). However, our ability to investigate the epizootiology of AIV in these migratory populations is challenging, and despite intensive worldwide surveillance, remains poorly understood. We conducted a cross-sectional, retrospective analysis in Pacific Flyway...

Samuel, Michael D.; Hall, Jeffrey S.; Brown, Justin D.; Goldberg, Diana R.; Ip, Hon S.; Baranyuk, Vasily V.
Samuel, M.D., J.S. Hall, J.D. Brown, D.R. Goldberg, H. Ip, and V.V. Baranyuk. 2015. The dynamics of avian influenza in western Arctic snow geese: implications for annual and migratory infection patterns. Ecological Applications. 10.1890/14-1820.1

Year Published: 2015

Direct detection of fungal siderophores on bats with white-nose syndrome via fluorescence microscopy-guided ambient ionization mass spectrometry

White-nose syndrome (WNS) caused by the pathogenic fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans is decimating the populations of several hibernating North American bat species. Little is known about the molecular interplay between pathogen and host in this disease. Fluorescence microscopy ambient ionization mass spectrometry was used to generate...

Mascuch, Samantha J.; Moree, Wilna J.; Cheng-Chih Hsu, Cheng-Chih; Turner, Gregory G.; Cheng, Tina L.; Blehert, David S.; Kilpatrick, A. Marm; Frick, Winifred F.; Meehan, Michael J.; Dorrestein, Pieter C.; Gerwick, Lena
Mascuch, S.J., W.J. Moree, C-C. Hsu, G.G. Turner, T.L. Cheng, D.S. Blehert, A.M. Kilpatrick, W.F. Frick, M.J. Meehan, L. Gerwick, and P.C. Dorrestein. Direct Detection of Fungal Siderophores on Bats with White-Nose Syndrome via Fluorescence Microscopy-Guided Ambient Ionization Mass Spectrometry . PLoS ONE 10:e0119668. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0119668.

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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

...
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

...
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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: January 5, 2016

Western Fisheries Science News, December 2015 | Issue 3.12

How Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis (IHN) Got its Name

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.

Date published: July 6, 2015

Western Fisheries Science News, June 2015 | Issue 3.6

Genetic Analysis Finds that Erythrocytic Necrosis Virus (ENV) of Pacific Herring is an Iridovirus That May be Closely Related to Erythrocytic Viruses of Reptiles