National Wildlife Health Center

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USGS National Wildlife Health Center
Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report
January 2011 to March 2011

Reported
State
Location Dates Species Mortality A Diagnosis B Reported
By C
AK Anchorage 01/02/11-02/07/11 Moose 3 Toxicosis: cyanide WY
AL Danville 01/10/11-01/11/11 Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, European Starling 142 Undetermined NW
AL Limestone County 01/12/11-01/14/11 Common Grackle, European Starling 200 (e) Trauma: impact NW
AR Franklin County 01/25/11-01/25/11 Cedar Waxwing 5 Trauma SCW
AR Greenwood 01/01/11-03/03/11 Striped Skunk 7 Rabies ARD
AR Pine Bluff 02/21/11-03/01/11 Brown-headed Cowbird, Red-winged Blackbird 30 Undetermined SCW
AR White County 12/31/10-01/01/11 Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, European Starling 5,000 (e) Trauma AR, NW, SCW
AZ Tucson 02/13/11-02/14/11 Brazilian Free-tailed Bat 55 Undetermined NW
CA Sonoma County 01/10/11-01/10/11 European Starling 100 Trauma NW
CA Orange County 02/02/11-02/02/11 Canada Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose 30 (e) Lead poisoning NW
CA Sacramento and Delevan NWR 01/15/11-01/16/11 American Coot, Ruddy Duck, Ross' Goose 10 Avian cholera NW
CA Tule Lake NWR 02/10/11-03/31/11 Unidentified Waterfowl, Unidentified Domestic Or, Hybrid Goose, Lesser Snow Goose, Unidentified Duck, American Wigeon 5,538 Avian cholera NW
DE New Castle County 01/10/11-02/14/11 Canada Goose 1,247 Mycotoxicosis suspect, DE, NW, PAD
FL Polk County 02/15/11-02/25/11 Laughing Gull 100 (e) Open NW
FL St. Johns River 01/14/11-01/21/11 Brown Pelican 30 Emaciation NW
FL Pinellas County 12/30/10-01/08/11 Double-crested Cormorant 7 Newcastle Disease Virus, Salmonellosis FL, NVL, NW
IA Iowa River 01/19/11-01/26/11 Canada Goose 20 (e) Aflatoxicosis suspect NW
ID Camas NWR 03/24/11-04/04/11 Lesser Snow Goose, Ross� Goose, Tundra Swan, Mallard 14 Avian cholera IDP, NW
IL Beecher 02/17/11-02/18/11 Brown-headed Cowbird 12 (e) Trauma NW
IN Crawford County 01/29/11-04/30/11 Little Brown Bat, Northern Long-eared Bat, Tri-colored Bat 40 (e) Fungal Infection: white-nose syndrome NW
KS Moline 02/07/11-03/01/11 Mallard, Ring-necked Duck, Gadwall 50 (e) Emaciation NW
KY Western Kentucky 12/28/10-01/02/11 European Starling, American Robin, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle 150 (e) Trauma: impact KFW, OT
LA Lake Charles 02/15/11-02/15/11 Tree Swallow 7 Trauma SCW
LA Pointe Coupee County 01/03/11-01/03/11 Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, European Starling, Brown-headed Cowbird 500 (e) Trauma NVL, NW, SCW
MD Baltimore City 01/06/11-01/06/11 American Crow 12 Bacterial infection: Clostridium perfringens MDA, NW
ME Waterville 01/18/11-02/01/11 American Crow 27 (e) Undetermined NW
MN Upper Mississippi River NWR 03/29/11-04/20/11 Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, American Coot, Ring-necked Duck 4,700 (e) Parasitism: Trematodiasis suspect NON
NB Albert County 03/15/11-05/20/11 Tri-colored Bat, Little Brown Bat, Northern Long-eared Bat 4,980 (e) Fungal Infection: white-nose syndrome CCW, OT, UG
NC Pocosin Lakes NWR 01/09/11-02/04/11 Red-winged Blackbird 4,000 (e) Undetermined NW
NE Clark and Lindau WPA 03/12/11-03/25/11 American Coot, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail 80 (e) Avian cholera NW
NJ Wood Bridge 02/07/11-03/12/11 House Sparrow 100 (e) Salmonellosis NW
NJ Great Swamp NWR 03/07/11-03/11/11 Unidentified Frog 75 (e) Emaciation NW
NM Bitter Lake NWR 02/06/11-02/20/11 Ross' Goose, Lesser Snow Goose, American Coot, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler 103 Avian cholera NW
NM Eddy County 03/28/11-05/13/11 Unidentified Bat, Yuma Bat 22 (e) Undetermined NW
OH Toledo 01/20/11-02/28/11 Canada Goose, Mallard, American Black Duck 200 (e) Undetermined NW
OK Gould 01/09/11-01/10/11 Sandhill Crane 12 (e) Pneumonia: fungal NW
OK Haskell County 01/28/11-01/28/11 European Starling 40 (e) Trauma suspect NW
OK Red River 02/09/11-02/24/11 Sandhill Crane 10 Mycotoxicosis suspect NW
OK Sooner Lake 01/04/11-01/14/11 Red-winged Blackbird 1,200 (e) Undetermined NW
SD Sully County 01/20/11-03/03/11 Mallard 7,000 (e) Aspergillosis NVL, NW
SD Lacreek NWR 01/13/11-01/14/11 Canada Goose 10 (e) Lead poisoning NW
TN Wilson County 01/19/11-01/19/11 European Starling 21 Toxicosis: avicide SCW
TX Travis County 01/30/11-01/30/11 Brazilian Free-tailed Bat 600 (e) Undetermined, Exposure suspect (cold) NW, SCW
TX Muleshoe NWR 02/02/11-02/24/11 Sandhill Crane 100 (e) Undetermined NW
TX Olton 01/19/11-01/19/11 Cooper's Hawk, Red-winged Blackbird, Unidentified Sparrow, Unidentified Pigeon 12 (e) Trauma NW
TX San Jose Island 01/09/11-01/09/11 American White Pelican, Black-bellied Plover, Northern Pintail, Forster's Tern, Black Skimmer 1,000 (e) Trauma: weather suspect NW
VA Wise County 02/16/11-05/15/11 Little Brown Bat 12 (e) Fungal Infection: white-nose syndrome NW
WI Upper Mississippi NWR 03/29/11-04/20/11 Lesser Scaup, American Coot 340 (e) Parasitism: Cyathocotyle bushiensis, Sphaeridiotrema globulus NW
Updates and Corrections:
Reported
State
Location Dates Species Mortality A Diagnosis B Reported
By C
AZ Buckeye 12/01/10-12/21/11 Eurasian Collared Dove 180 (e) Viral Infection: pigeon paramyxovirus 1 NW
NV Topaz Lake 10/18/10-11/01/10 Western Grebe 25 Emaciation, Toxicosis Suspect NW
VA Cumberland Gap Historic Park 07/22/10-07/26/10 Northern Long-eared Bat, Little Brown Bat 12 (e) Predation SCW

A (e) = estimate

B Suspect diagnosis = diagnosis is not finalized, but field signs and historic patterns indicate the disease.

C Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Laboratory (AR), Arkansas Department of Health Laboratory (ARD), Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre (CCW), Delaware Department of Agriculture Laboratory (DE), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FL), Kentucky Division of Fish and Wildlife (KFW), Idaho Wildlife Health Laboratory (IDP), Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), No diagnostics pursued (NON), National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVL), USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NW), Other (OT), Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory (PAD), Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCW),University of Guelph (UG), Unknown or not specified (UNK), Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory (WY).

Written and compiled by: Anne Ballmann, LeAnn White, and Jennifer Buckner.

To report mortality or receive information about this report, please contact the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, 6006 Schroeder Road, Madison , WI 53711

Eastern United States


Dr. Anne Ballmann
Wildlife Disease Specialist
Phone: (608) 270-2445
Fax: (608) 270-2415
Email: aballmann@usgs.gov

Central United States


Dr. LeAnn White
Wildlife Disease Specialist
Phone: (608) 270-2491
Fax: (608) 270-2415
Email: clwhite@usgs.gov

Western United States


Vacant position.
For assistance, contact Drs. White and Ballmann

Hawaiian Islands


Dr. Thierry Work
Wildlife Disease Ecologist
P.O. Box 50167
300 Ala Moana Blvd., Rm 8-132
Honolulu, HI 96850
Phone: (808) 792-9520
FAX: (808) 792-9596
Email: Thierry_work@usgs.gov

Quarterly Mortality Reports

Trauma and undetermined cause of death in various avian species (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas)
New Year�s Eve of 2010 Arkansas Game and Fish Commission received reports from residents in White County, Arkansas, of thousands of red-winged blackbirds, common grackles, and European starlings appearing to fall from the sky. Specimens were sent to US Geological Survey�s National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC), Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, and Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS). The cause of death was determined by all laboratories to be impact trauma. A resident in the area reported seeing birds flying into houses and mailboxes after hearing several loud noises. This mortality event received considerable press coverage and was followed by several other blackbird mortality reports that were also determined to be caused by trauma but were considered to be unrelated. For example, several days after the mortality event in Arkansas, approximately 500 dead red-winged blackbirds, brown-headed cowbirds, common grackles, and European starlings were found near a power line in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Birds from this event were examined by NWHC and SCWDS and found to have hemorrhaging and fractures consistent with colliding with a stationary object such as a power line. In Alabama and California, between 100 to 200 common grackles and European starlings died from impact trauma along interstates and highways in mid-January.

In early January 2011 approximately 1,000 dead birds were also found by US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) biologists in a salt marsh complex in Aransas, Texas. The species involved in this event included American white pelicans, black-bellied plovers, northern pintails, roseate spoonbills, Forster�s terns, and sandhill cranes. USFWS reported severe weather including hail the day before the birds were found. Specimens examined by NWHC were found to have injuries, including severe blunt trauma to the head, consistent with those that could be caused by hail.

Other mortality events involving red-winged blackbirds which occurred in January were investigated in Alabama, Oklahoma, and at Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (North Carolina). The cause of death for these events could not be determined. No toxins or significant underlying infectious diseases were detected. In some cases, it was known that flocks consisting of several hundred thousand birds were in the area. Overall, the number of mortality events involving �blackbirds� reported to NWHC in the first quarter of 2011 was quadruple the average number of reports from the same period during the previous five years. Publicity of the Arkansas event was frequently cited as a reason for diagnostic evaluation requests.

Avian cholera at Tule Lake NWR (California)
Avian cholera mortality occurred once again at Tule Lake at the beginning of 2011. Total mortality was estimated to involve 5538 birds of numerous waterfowl species including geese, swans, and ducks. Avian cholera mortality events at this location have occurred almost annually since 1969 with the largest event estimated to have killed 10,000 birds in 2008. Avian cholera is caused by the bacterium, Pasteurella multocida, which is shed at high levels in the feces and nasal discharge of infected individuals. Both inapparent carriers and an environment contaminated by animals shedding the bacteria can serve as reservoirs of infectious material to na�ve susceptible animals in the area. Careful handling and prompt disposal of carcasses, preferably by incineration, reduces the bacterial load in the environment but will not completely eliminate disease recurrence due to inapparent carriers.

Suspected mycotoxicosis in Canada geese (Delaware)
Sick and dying Canada geese at a private refuge that included both resident and migratory birds were first reported in early January 2011. The area consisted of a 5 acre partially-aerated pond and surrounding fields with standing corn where geese had been observed feeding. Supplemental whole corn was also provided mainly for mallards at the site and was discontinued shortly after the onset of the die-off. Only Canada geese appeared to be involved. Mortality began slowly and quickly escalated over the course of a week. Mortality continued for approximately four weeks and resulted in 1247 dead geese. Clinical signs were vague consisting mostly of depression and lack of flight response; many were simply found dead. Other birds were seemingly unaffected. Examination of carcasses from early in the event did not reveal any significant lesions while those collected during peak mortality had evidence of kidney and liver damage. Birds collected late in the event also had evidence of mild aspergillosis. Grain samples collected from the geese as well as from standing corn tested strongly positive for fumonisin B1 toxin by two independent labs. High levels of this toxin are known to cause liver changes in domestic poultry but its effects on waterfowl have not been previously studied.

Newcastle disease virus detected in double-crested cormorants (Florida)
Seven juvenile double-crested cormorants were admitted to quarantine at a rehabilitation facility in Pinellas County, Florida beginning in late December 2010 with clinical signs of head weaving, weakness and torticollis. Several birds died within 24 hours of admission and were submitted for diagnostic evaluation to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Wildlife Health Program. Newcastle disease virus (NDV) was isolated from samples from four individuals submitted to the USDA National Veterinary Diagnostic Services Laboratory (Ames, IA). Salmonellosis was detected in a fifth individual which had histologic evidence of encephalitis and conjunctivitis but from which NDV was not isolated. This is the first reported detection of Newcastle disease virus in wild birds from Florida and only the second report of the disease in the state. The detection of NDV during winter months is unusual in cormorant populations. Nestling and juvenile double-crested cormorants often experience high fatality rates while older birds do not. Those individuals that survive infection by Newcastle disease virus are thought to mount an immune response that neutralizes the virus and inhibits viral shedding and isolation but permanent neurologic damage remains. The source and extent of the infection in free-ranging Florida cormorant populations was not known. No other birds at the facility appeared affected and other rehabilitation facilities were alerted by state officials to monitor for signs of the disease, although none was detected.

Fungal pneumonia in mallards (South Dakota)
Beginning in late January 2011 a large-scale mortality event involving mallards was reported by USFWS biologists in Sully County, South Dakota. The final mortality estimate for this event was about 8,000 mallards. The majority of the birds were found dead and were in fair to excellent body condition. Some sick birds appeared weak and lethargic and were in emaciated to poor body condition. Biologists were able to collect fresh dead carcasses and also euthanize several sick birds for submission to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center. The primary cause of death in the mortality event was determined to be fungal pneumonia, but interestingly the two groups of birds (fresh dead versus sick) seemed to be infected by two different types of fungi. Aspergillosis fumigatus (causative agent of aspergillosis in birds) was cultured from the lungs and airsacs of the sick birds that were euthanized whereas Rhizopus sp. was identified in the lungs and airsacs of the birds that were found dead. Both types of fungi have been associated with moist conditions on spoiled grain which was a likely source for exposure by the mallards in this event.

White-nose syndrome mid-winter season update
White-nose syndrome (WNS) in cave-hibernating bats was detected in four new U.S. states (North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky) and two new Canadian provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia) during the first quarter of 2011. With the exception of the New Brunswick hibernaculum, where an estimated 4980 bats died, all other new locations reported minimal to no bat mortality at the time of their surveys. Because winter bat surveys are conducted once during the season to minimize disturbance to hibernating bats, total mortality estimates are not available until the following season when returning population counts are assessed. The disease also continued to spread into new counties within WNS-confirmed states and provinces (Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Tennessee, Quebec, and Ontario). Thus far, WNS has not been confirmed in any new bat species this season. Six species, including little brown, northern long-eared, tricolored, Indiana, eastern small-footed, and big brown bats, are known to be susceptible to WNS. Genetic evidence of Geomyces destructans, the causative agent of WNS, has been identified on three additional species (Southeastern myotis, Cave myotis, and Gray bats).

For the latest WNS updates, consult the USGS-NWHC Wildlife Health Bulletins.

Lake Michigan volunteer AMBLE - avian monitoring for botulism lakeshore events (Wisconsin)
The USGS National Wildlife Health Center, with help from many partners and support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, has established "Lake Michigan Volunteer AMBLE - Avian Monitoring for Botulism Lakeshore Events." The goal of the AMBLE program is to empower a network of concerned citizens to monitor bird health and beach conditions along miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, thus increasing knowledge of avian botulism trends. The AMBLE focus area for 2011 is Door County, Wisconsin, a peninsula with almost 300 miles of shoreline. Forty-nine AMBLE volunteers were trained by NWHC staff in May. These volunteers will perform weekly surveillance of avian health along 35 sections of Door County shoreline from June through November. More information is available at: www.nwhc.usgs.gov/our_research/amble/

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