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Recording and submitting specimen history data

June 14, 2016

Summary

In wildlife disease investigations, determining the history or background of a problem is the first significant step toward establishing a diagnosis and aiding agencies with management considerations. The diagnostic process and overall investigation is often greatly expedited by a chronological record accompanying specimens submitted for laboratory evaluation. Knowing where and when the outbreak is taking place, what the environmental conditions and species involved are, and clinical signs in sick animals, along with necropsy findings and diagnostic test results are important for understanding the natural history or epizootiology of disease outbreaks. It becomes increasingly difficult to retrospectively obtain all of the pertinent history as time passes. The most helpful information is that which is obtained at the time of the die-off event by perceptive field biologists and other observers. Significant events preceding morbidity and/or mortality also provide valuable information on which to base corrective actions. In this chapter, readers will find information regarding what type of information should be recorded, how it should be recorded and why it is relevant to a disease investigation. A thoughtful approach in providing as much information as possible surrounding the situation including about host species and the biotic and abiotic environment, greatly aids in determining the most likely causative agent(s).

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
Title Recording and submitting specimen history data
DOI 10.3133/tm15C3
Authors Barbara L. Bodenstein
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Techniques and Methods
Series Number 15-C3
Index ID tm15C3
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wildlife Health Center