National Wildlife Health Center

...advancing wildlife and ecosystem health

Diseases of Wildlife in the United States

Wildlife resources are under constant pressure caused by human population growth, environmental degradation, and habitat reduction. Wildlife species are also subject to diseases resulting from exposure to microbes, parasites, toxins, and other biological and physical agents. These wildlife diseases are often highly visible and result in large-scale mortality. Such losses are incompatible with healthy, vigorous wildlife populations, making research into and development of practical methods for wildlife disease diagnosis and mitigation of wildlife losses a critical component of effective wildlife management.

This project is managed by the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, WI.

Project Tasks:
  • Ecology and management of avian diseases.
  • Ecology of wildlife disease at the Salton Sea.
  • Plague: Management tools and disease ecology.
  • Parasites of native and non-native fishes in the Southwest.
  • Southern sea otters: Significance of disease as a mortality factor.
  • Amphibian malformations and diseases.
  • Wildlife diseases in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Field investigations, training, technical assistance and develelopment of information products.
  • Investigation of wildlife morbidity and mortality.
  • Characterization of the histopathology & microbiology of white pox and white band diseases of acroporid corals of the US Virgin Islands.
  • Biocomplexity of avian diseases in Hawaiian forest birds: Modeling component.
  • Diseases of marine turtles.
  • Coral reef ecosystem health.
  • Floristic surveys and effects of air pollutants on plants in National Parks.
  • Persistence of Asian fish tapeworm in endangered humpback chub.
  • Immunization of prairie dogs and other wild rodents against plague.

For more information on any of the tasks listed above, please contact Gail Moede-Rogall at 608-270-2438 or via email at

Wood Duck
Photo by Robert J Dusek

  1. Investigate and diagnose causes of wildlife illness and death.
  2. Study the epidemiology of wildlife diseases.
  3. Assess the impact of diseases and contaminants on wildlife populations.
  4. Develop models of environmental and other factors influencing disease outbreaks.
  5. Transfer technology for disease prevention and control to field biologists and managers.

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Page Last Modified: Jun 20, 2018