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Miscellaneous parasitic diseases

January 1, 1999

Free-ranging wild birds are afflicted with numerous other parasites that occasionally cause illness and death. Some of these parasites, such as two of the trematodes or flukes highlighted below, can cause major die-offs. This section about parasitic diseases concludes with descriptions of some additional parasites that field biologists may encounter in wild birds. This listing is by no means complete and it is intended only to increase awareness of the diversity of types of parasites that might be encountered during examinations of wild birds. One should not assume that the parasites found during the examination of bird carcasses caused their death. Because parasites of birds vary greatly in size from a protozoa of a few microns in length to tapeworms of several inches in length and because they can be found in virtually all tissues, body cavities and other locations within the bird, the observation of the parasites will depend on their visibility and the thoroughness of the examination. Therefore, it is generally beneficial to submit bird carcasses to qualified disease diagnostic laboratories to obtain evaluations of the significance of endoparasites or of ectoparasites. The methods that are used to preserve the carcass, tissues, or other specimens can enhance or compromise the ability of specialists to identify the parasite to species, and even to genera, in some instances. Therefore, whenever possible, it is best to contact the diagnostic laboratory that will receive the specimens and obtain instructions for collecting, preserving, and shipping field samples (See Chapters 2 and 3).

Citation Information

Publication Year 1999
Title Miscellaneous parasitic diseases
Authors Rebecca A. Cole, M. Friend
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title Information and Technology Report
Series Number 1999-0001
Index ID 2001112
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wildlife Health Center