National Wildlife Health Center

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USGS National Wildlife Health Center
Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report
January 2003 to March 2003

Reported
State
Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
By

ANT

Palmer Station

01/17/03-01/26/03

Adelie Penguin

12(e)

Open

NW

CA

Lower Klamath and Tule Lake NWR

02/17/03-04/21/03

Ruddy Duck
Snow Goose
Ross' Goose
American Wigeon
Northern Pintail

4,759

Avian cholera

NW

CA

San Joaquin River
NWR

01/23/03-02/04/03

Ross' Goose
Canada (Aleutian)

50(e)

Avian cholera

NW

FL

Volusia, Orange, Brevard, Martin, Palm Beach and Broward Counties

03/08/03-ongoing

Northern Gannet
Unidentified Cormorant

1,000(e)

Emaciation

FL, NW

GA, MS, LA, FL

01/08/03-ongoing

American Crow
Blue Jay
Common Grackle
Northern Cardinal
American Goldfinch

35(e)

Viral Infection: West Nile

ST

GA

Lincoln County

12/29/02-01/20/03

Bald Eagle

3(e)

Vacuolar myelinopathy

SCW

IA

DeSoto NWR

12/18/02-01/03/03

Snow Goose
Mallard

57

Avian cholera suspect

NWR

KS

Lyon County

01/29/03-01/29/03

Northern Bobwhite

5

Trauma

SCW

MD

Talbot County

01/25/03-03/01/03

Ruddy Duck

2,000(e)

Open: emaciation

MD, NW

ME

Villa Gonzalez and Villa de Casas

12/14/02-01/20/03

Snow Goose
White-fronted Goose

220(e)

Open

NW

MS

Harrison County

03/19/03-ongoing

Mississippi gopher Frog
Southern Leopard Frog

1,000(e)

Parasitism: protozoa-like

NW

NC

Halifax County

02/01/03-04/15/03

Unidentified Grackle

100(e)

Toxicosis: organophosphorus cmpd suspect

NCA, NW

NE

Scotts Bluff County

01/21/03-01/22/03

Hooded Merganser
Common Goldeneye
Green-winged Teal
Mallard

470(e)

Exposure: hypothermia

NW

NM

Maxwell NWR

01/07/03-03/14/03

Pine Siskin
Evening Grosbeak
American Goldfinch

50(e)

Salmonellosis

NW

NY

Albany County

01/15/03-03/01/03

American Crow

12

Enteritis: hemorrhagic

NW, NY

OK

Tishomingo NWR

02/18/03-ongoing

unidentified Grackle
European Starling
unidentified Junco

20

Open

NW

PA

Erie County, Presque Isle St. Park

03/15/03-03/19/03

Map Turtle

12(e)

Open

NW

PR

Isla Mona

02/25/03-02/28/03

Killdeer

75(e)

Emaciation

NW

TN

Great Smoky Mountains NP

01/08/03-02/15/03

Snapping Turtle

25

Emaciation

NW

TN

Blount County

03/21/03-03/23/03

American Toad

50(e)

Open

#

TX

Nueces County

01/20/03-01/22/03

Northern Gannet

2(e)

Emaciation

NW

TX

Multiple Counties

01/28/03-03/31/03

American Robin
Cedar Waxwing

2,000(e)

Open

TX

TX

Oldham County

02/26/03-02/26/03

Sandhill Crane

37(e)

Trauma: powerline collision

TX

TX

Bailey County

03/14/03-03/20/03

Sandhill Crane

300(e)

Mycotoxicosis suspect

TX

VA

Surry County

01/15/03-02/15/03

Brown Pelican

50(e)

Drowning

NW, SCW

WA

Yakima County

02/20/03-02/21/03

California Quail

150(e)

Trauma

WAS

WI

Milwaukee County

03/22/03-04/05/03

Lesser Scaup

250(e)

Parasitism: trematodiasis

NW

Updates and Corrections:
Reported
State
Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
By

FL

St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge

12/19/02-ongoing

Southern Leopard Frog

15(e)

Parasitism

NW

WI

Sauk, Columbia, Iowa and Grant County

12/10/02-04/01/03

Bald Eagle

9

Lead poisoning

NW, WI

(e) = estimate; * = morbidity, not mortality; # = no specimens received in laboratory setting

New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NY), Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCW), USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NW), Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources (WI), National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (TX), North Carolina State University Veterinary School (NCA), Maryland Department of Agriculture Diagnostic Laboratory (MD), Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FL), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WAS), State Diagnostic Laboratories (ST).

Written and compiled by Kathryn Converse/Rex Sohn - Western US, Grace McLaughlin - Eastern US, Christine Lemanski, NWHC. The Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report is available at http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov. To report mortality or receive information about this report, contact the above NWHC staff, or for Hawaiian Islands contact Thierry Work. Phone: (608) 270-2400, FAX: (608) 270-2415 or e-mail: kathy_converse@usgs.gov. USGS National Wildlife Health Center, 6006 Schroeder Road, Madison, WI 53711

Quarterly Mortality Reports

Avian Cholera in Northern California Wintering Waterfowl..
From mid February to mid April 2003, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel collected carcasses of 4,759 waterfowl at Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges in California on border of Oregon. The total losses are estimated at 9,000. The predominant species affected in order of mortality were Ruddy ducks, Snow geese, Ross’ geese, American wigeon, Northern pintail, White-fronted geese, and American coots. Populations of geese and ducks have been increasing with significant expansion of quality waterfowl habitat on and off the Refuges in California. The impact of avian cholera was greater in the 1980’s when waterfowl populations were lower and less quality habitat was available.

West Nile Virus Returns in 2003.
As of April 1, 2003, WNV was detected in birds in Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. In addition, WNV antibodies were detected in resident, non-migratory birds in Mexico, Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Jamaica. WNV was diagnosed in horses in El Salvador. This southern progression of WNV further supports the hypothesis that migratory birds transmit the virus. Given the rapid progression of WNV to 44 states in 2002, it is anticipated that WNV will occur in the 48 continental states and possibly AK and HI during 2003. The largest WNV epidemic ever recorded, occurred in the United States in 2002. In their final report for 2002, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 4,156 human cases with 284 deaths, almost 15,000 horse cases, and thousands of WNV positive birds. West Nile virus was confirmed in 44 states, the District of Columbia, five Canadian Provinces (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia), and northeastern Mexico reported WNV activity in 2002.

High Mortality Threatens the Survival of the Mississippi Gopher Frogs.
In March 2003, mortality of gopher frog tadpoles was detected in Mississippi at the only known breeding site for this species in the United States. Gopher frogs live in burrows of gopher tortoises, which have been released in the same area in Mississippi. The September 2002 cohort of gopher frogs has died and the remaining tadpoles from the February breeding event are in captivity. A protozoan-like organism is responsible for the larval mortality. Amphibians were collected from three potential release sites for tadpoles if there is a successful breeding attempt by the estimated 150 remaining adult gopher frogs in the fall of 2003 or 2004.

Songbird Mortality in Texas.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reported a die-off of thousands of American Robins and a smaller number of Cedar Waxwings from an area that extended from Dallas to San Antonio to Goliad, Texas. One of the largest areas of mortality was Waco, which reported several hundred dead birds. All diagnostic tests conducted at Texas A & M and other state laboratories were inconclusive and pesticide exposure was ruled out. Speculation as to the cause of death includes alcohol toxicity following ingestion of fermented berries from exotic bushes planted in the area.

Ruddy Ducks Succumb to the cold in Maryland.
During January 2002, cold temperatures and extensive ice coverage in the Chesapeake Bay may have contributed to the starvation of an estimated 2000 Ruddy ducks and other wintering waterfowl. Birds submitted to the Maryland Department of Agriculture Diagnostic Laboratory and the NWHC were emaciated with empty stomachs and all cultures were negative. The initial concern of avian cholera in these birds was ruled out.

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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