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USGS National Wildlife Health Center
Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report
October 2000 to December 2000

Reported
State
Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
By
PA McKean, Warren, Vernango, and Crawford Counties 05/01/00-07/31/00 Little Brown Bat 50(e) Open NW, PA
AL Baldwin Co., Gulf Shores 07/01/00-12/30/00 Unidentified Pelican, Common Loon, Double-crested Cormorant, Unidentified Gull Northern Gannet 100 (e) Open, NW
AR Clark Co., De Gray Lake 11/27/00-ongoing American Coot 5(e) Avian vacuolar myelinopathy SC
AZ Santa Cruz Co., Tumacacori Nat'l Historic Park 10/22/00-10/23/00 Violet-green Swallow 60 Emaciation: Starvation suspect FL, NW
CA Alemeda Co., Brooks Is. Caspian Tern 08/14/00-08/26/00 Western Gull 50(e) Emaciation NW
CA Sacramento NWR Complex 09/26/00-10/13/00 Gadwall Duck, Northern Shoveler, Ring-necked Duck, American Coot 40(e) Botulism type C suspect NW
CA Sacramento NWR Complex 11/01/00-ongoing White-fronted Goose, American Coot, Snow Goose, Northern Shoveler,Ross' Goose 300(e) Avian cholera, Lead poisoning NW
CA San Joaquin River NWR 12/07/00-ongoing Northern Shoveler, Canada (Aleutian) Goose, Ruddy Duck 200 Avian cholera NW
GA Burke County 09/27/00-10/05/00 Brown Thrasher, Red-eyed Vireo, Unidentified Passerine, Red Bat 30(e) Trauma: Tower strike SC
GA Burke County 12/24/00-12/24/00 Bald Eagle 1 Toxicosis: Rodenticide SC
GA Floyd Co., Rome 10/14/00-10/17/00 Rock Dove 8 Toxicosis:Avitrol SC
GA Forsyth Co., Lake Lanier 07/26/00-07/26/00 Common Grackle 24 Trauma SC
GA Lincoln Co., J. Strom Thurmond Lake; Monroe Co., Lake Juliette 11/13/00-ongoing Bald Eagle, Canada Goose, Killdeer, American Coot 125(e) Avian vacuolar myelinopathy NW, SC
GA Taliaferro Co., Alexander H. Stephens State Park 09/24/00-09/26/00 Pekin Duck, Hybrid Mallard Duck 3 Botulism type C NW,SC
IA Scott Co., Davenport, Nahant Marsh 03/16/00-04/04/00 Canada Goose 2 Lead poisoning NW
IL Union Co. Refuge 12/26/01-01/08/01 Mallard Duck, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, Canada Goose 600 (e) Avian cholera IL
MA Cape Cod Nat'l Seashore 10/19/00-11/01/00 Common Eider 30 Emaciation, Parasitism: Acanthocephaliasis NW
MI Monroe Co., West Sister Is. 10/12/00-10/15/00 Double-crested Cormorant 7 Open NW
MO Otter Slough WMA 12/13/00-01/10/01 Mallard Duck 60(e) Open NW
NC Moore Co., Woodlake 11/04/00-ongoing Canada Goose, American Coot 125 (e) Avian vacuolar myelinopathy NW
NC Onslow Co. 05/23/00-08/23/00 Southern Leopard Frog, Barking Tree Frog 9(e) Fungal infection: Chytrid NW
ND McIntosh Co., Kulm WMD 07/26/00-09/06/00 Mallard Duck, American Coot, Northern Pintail, Blue-winged Teal, Gadwall Duck 1,768 Botulism type C NW
NJ Edwin B. Forsythe NWR 11/09/00-ongoing Atlantic Brant 700 (e) Open NW, NJ
OH Medina Co., Medina 10/15/00-10/15/00 Mallard Duck 10 Toxicosis: Organophosphate suspect NW
OR Ankeny NWR 10/23/00-11/01/00 Canada (Cackling) Goose 100(e) Aspergillosis NW
SC Richland Co., Lake Murray; McCormick Co, J. Strom Thurmond Lake; Barnwell Co., Savannah River Ponds 11/13/00-ongoing Great-horned Owl, American Coot, Canada Goose 25(e) Avian vacuolar myelinopathy NW,SC
TX San Bernard NWR 11/20/00-12/01/00 Snow Goose 75(e) Open NW
VA Henrico Co., Richmond 05/15/00-06/20/00 Mourning Dove 15(e) Parasitism: Trichomoniasis SC
WI Brown Co., Green Bay 11/15/00-11/30/00 Richardson's Goose, Canada Goose 177 Lead poisoning WI
WI Shawano Co., Shawano Lake 09/26/00-11/15/00 Unidentified Scaup, Mallard Duck, Ruddy Duck, Ring-necked Duck, American Coot 3,299 Parasitism: Leyogonimus sp., Sphaeridiotrema sp., Cyathocotyle bushiensis NW
WV Berkeley Co. 06/11/00-06/11/00 Common Grackle 5 Toxicosis: Parathion SC
WV Nicholas Co., Summersville 07/01/00-10/05/00 Mourning Dove 15(e) Parasitism: Trichomoniasis SC
Updates and Corrections:
Reported
State
Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
By
CA Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR 05/22/00-11/22/00 American White Pelican, Brown Pelican 600*(e) 900 (e) Botulism type C NW
NY, NJ, MD, MA, RI, CT, PA, NH, VT, DE, VA, NC Spread through states 05/20/00-10/18/00 Blue Jay, Fish Crow, American Crow 5000(e) West Nile virus NW, NY, AS
WI Columbia Co., Portage 06/12/97-06/28/97 Unidentified Frog 18 Viral infection: Iridovirus NW
WY Mortensen NWR; Carbon Co., Nat'l Fish Hatchery 09/08/00-09/08/00 Wyoming Toad 3 Fungal infection: Chytrid NW

(e) = estimate, * = morbidity and mortality

All participating State Health Departments (AS), Illinois State Diagnostic Lab (IL), National Wildlife Health Center (NW), New Jersey Department of Fish & Wildlife (NJ), New York State Department of Environmental Contaminants (NY), Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PA), Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SC), US Fish & Wildlife Service Forensics Lab (FL), Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI).

Written and compiled by Kathryn Converse, Kimberli Miller, Linda Glaser, and Audra Schrader, National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC). To report mortality or if you would like specific information on these mortalities, contact one of the following NWHC staff: Western US Kathryn Converse; Eastern US--Kimberli Miller; Hawaiian Islands--Thierry Work. Phone (608) 270-2400, FAX (608) 270-2415 or E-mail kathy_converse@usgs.gov. National Wildlife Health Center, 6006 Schroeder Road, Madison, WI 53711.

Quarterly Mortality Reports

Atlantic Brant in New Jersey
Atlantic brant are small dark geese that breed in the arctic and winter primarily along the New Jersey coast. Approximately 95,000 brant were recently counted during the midwinter population surveys of coastal New Jersey. Brant mortality was first noted in early November when sick and dead birds were found on a shallow freshwater impoundment on the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Sick birds were isolated away from the flock and sat hunched up with their wings out and heads hanging down to one side. Birds had difficulty flying or swimming and most died shortly after capture; both adults and juveniles were affected. Affected birds were primarily found on the refuge although some carcasses were found up to 15 miles away. By early December mortality had ended and approximately 700 carcasses were collected. Although a variety of avian species were present on the freshwater impoundment, brant appear to be the only species affected. There were no observed fish kills or unusual mammal morbidity or mortality.

Carcasses submitted to NWHC and the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife were generally in good body condition with clear viscous fluid noted in the mouth and nostrils of some birds as well as pulmonary edema and dark, red, wet lungs. Some birds had hemorrhages in the skin and breast muscles as well as on the surfaces of the heart, proventriculus, gizzard and colon. Bacterial and viral isolation and detection attempts by a variety of methods including electron microscopy have not revealed the etiologic agent. Specifically, special cultures and tests for West Nile virus, duck plague, Newcastle disease and avian influenza have been negative. Brain acetylcholinesterase activity has been within normal limits and tests for botulinum toxins and rodenticides were negative. The cause of the mortality is undetermined. Hunters were advised to avoid shooting or eating brant.

Avian Vacuolar Myelinopathy
Avian Vacuolar Myelinopathy (AVM) is a neurologic disease first detected in bald eagles in Arkansas in 1994. It has now been confirmed in American coots and other species on 10 lakes in 4 southern states. This fall, a number of bald eagles died on J. Strom Thurmond Lake (a.k.a. Clark's Hill Lake) on the Georgia-South Carolina border; AVM mortality was first documented on this lake in 1998. The Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) in Athens, Georgia confirmed AVM in 8 of 13 eagles submitted from the Lake (5 eagles unsuitable for examination) as well as coots, 2 Canada geese, a great horned owl and a killdeer. This is the greatest number of bald eagles affected with AVM outside of De Gray Lake in Arkansas. It is also the first confirmation of AVM in Canada geese, great horned owl and killdeer. Disease specialists from the National Wildlife Health Center and SCWDS visited the lake in late November and continued to monitor the site and work with the states.

Through monitoring and surveillance activities, SCWDS confirmed AVM this year in coots at known AVM sites including Lake Juliette, GA; 2 lakes near Aiken, SC; De Gray Lake, AR and in a Canada goose on Lake Murray, SC. In early November, a high percentage of the several thousand coots on Woodlake, NC appeared to be exhibiting clinical signs consistent with AVM. AVM research projects are underway including a sentinel bird study, feeding trials, vegetation and water analysis and mammal and fish sampling.

Common Eiders at Cape Code National Seashore
From mid to late October, 20-30 common eiders may have washed ashore at the Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts. Approximately 5,000 eider were rafting in the vicinity. Specimens submitted to NWHC were emaciated and acanthocephalan parasites were present in the intestine. The cause of the emaciation was not determined.

American Coot Mortality in Wisconsin
Leyogonimus and Sphaeridiotrema parasites were again the cause of mortality in American coot and waterfowl on Shawano Lake northwest of Green Bay, Wisconsin. A total of 3165 coots, 109 scaup and 20 mallard, ruddy and ring-necked ducks were collected on the lake from late September through mid November. Leyogonimus parasites are primarily found in the coots and Sphaeridiotrema in the waterfowl. A third parasite, Cyathocotyle has been found in both the coots and waterfowl. The NWHC parasitology department is collaborating with University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to determine the life cycle of the Leyogonimus parasite and the epidemiology of the die-off.

For additional information please contact Dr. Scott Wright, USGS National Wildlife Health Center - Disease Investigations Branch Chief, at 608-270-2460 or Paul Slota, USGS National Wildlife Health Center - Support Services Branch Chief at 608-270-2420.

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