National Wildlife Health Center

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USGS National Wildlife Health Center
Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report
January 2013 to March 2013

State Location Dates A Species Mortality B Diagnosis C Laboratory D
CA Lower Klamath and Tule Lake NWR 02/01/13-04/08/13 Lesser Snow Goose, American Wigeon, Unidentified Swan, Northern Pintail, Canvasback 1240 (e) Avian cholera NW
CA Imperial County 01/20/13-02/15/13 Northern Pintail, Mallard 40 (e) Undetermined NW
CA Salton Sea 01/25/13-03/16/13 Ruddy Duck, American Coot, Ring-billed Gull, Double-crested Cormorant 1400 (e) Avian cholera NW
CA Salton City 03/11/13-03/31/13 Mourning Dove 50 (e) Parasitism: trichomoniasis NW
CA Kings County 02/19/13-04/15/13 Ruddy Duck, Unidentified Waterfowl, American Avocet, Unidentified Goldeneye, Peregrine Falcon 100 (e) Avian cholera NW
FL Lemon Bay 01/09/13-04/21/13 Manatee 267 (e) Toxicosis: brevetoxin FL
FL Merritt Island 02/01/13-04/20/13 Eastern Brown Pelican 250 (e) Emaciation NW
FL Live Oak 01/09/13-01/09/13 Brazilian Free-tailed Bat, Southeastern Myotis 41 Trauma SCW
GA Dade County 02/25/13-4/30/13 Eastern Pipistrelle (AKA Tri-colored) 6 (e) Fungal Infection: white-nose syndrome SCW
GA Ellijay 03/10/13-03/12/13 American Robin 45 (e) Trauma SCW
GA Grovetown 02/21/13-02/28/13 Brown-headed Cowbird, American Goldfinch 7 (e) Salmonellosis SWD
GA Clarke County 02/22/13-02/22/13 Cedar Waxwing 5 Trauma SCW
LA Crowley 02/20/13-02/22/13 Brown-headed Cowbird 100 (e) Open NW
MO Squaw Creek NWR 02/11/13-02/19/13 Lesser Snow Goose, Ross' Goose 51 Avian cholera NW
MT Browns Lake 03/15/13-04/30/13 Northern Pintail, Mallard, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler 150 (e) Parasitism: trematodiasis suspect NON
NE Clay County 03/09/13-04/05/13 Lesser Snow Goose, Northern Pintail, Mallard, Ross' Goose, Redhead Duck 1887 Avian cholera NW
NH Lake Sunapee 02/15/13-02/17/13 Mallard, Domestic Black Duck 30 Predation NW
NV Clark County 01/07/13-01/07/13 Gambel's Quail 6 Trauma NW
NY Multiple Counties 01/28/13-04/24/13 Common Redpoll 40 (e) Salmonellosis (S. typhimurium) COR, NY
OH Cuyahoga County 01/02/13-01/02/13 Canada Goose, Mallard 40 (e) Trauma: gunshot NW
OH Wadsworth 01/24/13-**** Little Brown Bat 15 (e) Fungal Infection: white-nose syndrome NW
OK McClain County 03/03/13-03/06/13 Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Meadowlark, Mourning Dove 90 (e) Toxicosis: strychnine SCW
ONT Sudbury County 02/27/13-05/31/13 Little Brown Bat, Northern Long-Eared Bat 8 Fungal Infection: white-nose syndrome CCW
PEI Queens County 01/10/13-05/31/13 Little Brown Bat, Northern Long-Eared Bat 8 Fungal Infection: white-nose syndrome CCW
TN Lawrenceburg 02/07/13-02/07/13 Common Grackle 15 (e) Undetermined SCW
UT Farmington Bay WMA 03/05/13-03/10/13 Tundra Swan, Canvasback 300 (e) Emaciation NW
UT Great Salt Lake 01/03/13-01/16/13 Eared Grebe 2000 (e) Avian cholera NW
VA Cumberland Gap NHP 01/03/13-4/30/13 Eastern Pipistrelle (AKA Tri-colored), Little Brown Bat, Northern Long-eared Bat 7 (e) Fungal infection: white-nose syndrome SCW
WA Pierce County 01/04/13-01/04/13 Pine Siskin 10 (e) Trauma suspect NON
WA Whatcom County 01/14/13-01/14/13 Pine Siskin 200 (e) Trauma: impact NW
WA Sprague 01/27/13-05/01/13 Red-tailed Hawk, Great Horned Owl, European Starling 104 (e) Toxicosis: Famphur (starlings), Toxicosis: Famphur suspect (raptors) NW
WI Waukesha County 01/12/13-03/30/13 Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch 33 (e) Salmonellosis suspect NON
WI Walworth County 02/01/13-02/20/13 American Coot 13 (e) Emaciation: starvation suspect NW
WY Teton 03/27/13-04/15/13 Trumpeter Swan 13 (e) Emaciation NW, WY
Multiple States
States Location Dates A Species Mortality B Diagnosis C Laboratory D
NC, VA Multiple Counties 03/19/13-ongoing Common Loon, Razorbill, Horned Grebe, Greater Shearwater, Northern Gannet 130 (e) Emaciation NW, SCW

A **** = cessation date not available.

B (e) = estimate, *** = mortality estimate not available.

C Suspect = diagnosis is not finalized or completed tests were unable to confirm the diagnosis, but field signs and historic patterns indicate the disease; Open = diagnosis is not finalized and tests are on-going; Undetermined = testing is complete or was not pursued and no cause of death was evident; NOS = not otherwise specified.

D Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre (CCW), Cornell University (COR), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FL), National Wildlife Health Center (NW), No diagnostics pursued (NON), New York State, DEC, Division of Fish, Wildlife & Marine Resources (NY), Sea World of San Diego (SWD), Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCW), Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory (WY).

Written and compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center Field Investigation Team members: Anne Ballmann, LeAnn White, Barb Bodenstein, 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


Barb Bodenstein
Wildlife Disease Specialist
Phone: (608) 270-2447
Fax: (608) 270-2415
Email: bbodenstein@usgs.gov

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

For single animal mortality, nationwide, please contact: Jennifer Buckner, USGS National Wildlife Health Center Biologist by phone: (608) 270-2443, fax: (608) 270-2415, or email: jbuckner@usgs.gov.

Quarterly Mortality Reports

Continued investigation of Newcastle Disease Virus in Cormorants in the Midwest
Newcastle Disease (ND) is a reportable disease in poultry and was last detected in U.S. poultry flocks in California in 2003. However, ND continues to cause mortality events in wild birds, particularly double-crested cormorants (Phalacro coraxauritus) (DCCO). The frequency of DCCO mortality events caused by Newcastle Disease virus (NDV) appears to be increasing in the Midwest with almost annual occurrence of NDV-associated mortality in DCCO in the Midwest since 2006 compared to the 11-year period between the first documented events in 1992 and second detection in 2003. Due to the apparent increase in frequency of NDV mortality events, scientists at the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) began a collaborative study to investigate the transmission dynamics of NDV in DCCO in 2012. Partners included in this project include the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Wildlife Services, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwa.

The study is focused primarily on determining the role of maternal antibodies in transmission of NDV. During 2012 over 1,000 adult and juvenile DCCO at several breeding colonies in Minnesota and Wisconsin were sampled for NDV. A NDV epizootic occurred on one of the study sites in 2012 giving scientists the opportunity to compare serology and virus isolation results at NDV outbreak and non-outbreak sites within the same year. Scientists on the project also assisted in the MN DNR�s 2012 effort to control spread of this disease by performing carcass collection and incineration at several of the NDV outbreak sites in MN. During 2013 scientists will be focusing on DCCO breeding colonies in Minnesota where they again plan to collect over 1,000 samples from DCCO of various age classes. Understanding the role of maternal antibodies in the transmission dynamics of ND may help scientists predict future epizootic events in DCCO and develop disease management strategies. Contact: LeAnn White, National Wildlife Health Center, 608-270-2491, clwhite@usgs.gov

Investigation of snake fungal disease east of the Mississippi River (United States)
Since 2006, there has been an increase in the number of reports of skin infections in wild snakes in certain parts of the eastern United States. Laboratory testing has implicated a fungal pathogen, Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola (formerly Chrysosporium ophiodiicola), but the causative agent has not yet been definitively identified. NWHC scientists are collaborating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, numerous state agencies, organizations, researchers, and other key stakeholders to investigate this potentially emerging disease and to learn more about its impacts on snake populations. For more information, visit Snake Fungal Disease. Contact: Anne Ballmann, National Wildlife Health Center, 608-270-2445, aballmann@usgs.gov

Suspected famphur poisoning in Raptors (Washington)
One red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), one great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), and eight European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were submitted to NWHC for necropsy after the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife received reports of >100 moribund and dead starlings and magpies in a backyard residence in eastern Washington. The red-tailed hawks and great horned owl were observed feeding on the carcasses of starlings and magpies between late-January and mid-March, 2013. Other species including house sparrows (Passer domesticus), rock doves (Columba livia), and waterfowl were abundant in the area and were not affected. One red-tailed hawk was taken to a wildlife rehabilitator and recovered after receiving atropine. Black feathers and one starling leg were recovered from the stomach of the red-tailed hawk and no signs of infectious disease were present at necropsy. Brain cholinesterase activity in the red-tailed hawk, great horned owl and starlings were markedly depressed, indicating they were recently exposed to organophosphate/carbamate pesticide compounds. No toxic organic compounds could be identified in liver tissue of the starlings or red-tailed hawk by mass spectrometry and there were no stomach contents available from the starlings for analysis. Famphur, a regulated pesticide that is highly toxic to birds was identified in the skin tissue of the feet of one starling by mass spectrometry. Contact: Barbara Bodenstein, National Wildlife Health Center, 608-270-2447, bbodenstein@usgs.gov

Eastern Brown Pelican mortality in Brevard County (Florida)
Mortality among juvenile and adult eastern brown pelicans (Pelicanus occidentalis) concentrated around Merritt Island and Melbourne, Florida began in late February and continued through mid-April 2013, eventually involving approximately 250 pelicans. Concurrent mortality involving other avian, mammalian, and fish species was reported sporadically over the course of this event. Initially, clinical signs in pelicans were suggestive of avian botulism; however, lab tests were negative. All examined birds were emaciated with moderate to marked intestinal parasitism. Birds tested negative for lead exposure and no significant bacteria were cultured. Moderate amounts of metabolites of a chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticide (organochlorines) and several PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) congeners were detected in at least one pelican but these compounds likely accumulated from the diet and were not the primary cause of death. Avian poxvirus was isolated from skin lesions in another pelican that also had microscopic evidence suggestive of systemic poxvirus infection. Similar lesions were not present in other pelicans examined; therefore, its significance to this mortality event is uncertain. At least eight mortality events involving brown pelicans have been reported in Brevard County since the 1980s; causes of death have been attributed to botulism type C and other suspected toxins, trauma, and undetermined causes. Contact: Anne Ballmann, National Wildlife Health Center, 608-270-2445, aballmann@usgs.gov

Manatee mortality on the western coast of Florida
Toxic red tide caused by Karenina brevis is estimated to have killed 267 West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus ssp. Latirostris), a Florida subspecies, along the western coast of Florida between January and April 2013. These deaths were investigated by the Marine Mammal Pathobiology Laboratory (Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission). The majority of affected manatees were detected in Lee County although the bloom stretched from Sarasota to Collier Counties. The red tide toxins cause respiratory distress, paralysis, and unresponsiveness in manatee that may become exposed through inhalation of aerosolized toxicant on the water�s surface or ingestion of contaminated sea grass. Blooms of red tide typically occur annually in the region but the toxins may remain off-shore depending on the prevailing winds and water currents. This year is on track to be one of the worst for manatee mortality; 633 animals have already been reported dead (as of 6/7/13) which exceeds totals from the previous two years. Other common causes of manatee mortality include watercraft collisions, cold stress, perinatal mortality, and other natural or undetermined causes. The Florida manatee is endangered; only about 5,000 are thought to remain in the wild. Contact: Anne Ballmann, National Wildlife Health Center, 608-270-2445, aballmann@usgs.gov

White-nose syndrome Winter 2012/2013 summary
White-nose syndrome (WNS) was confirmed in cave-hibernating bats in three new states (South Carolina, Georgia, and Illinois) and one new province (Prince Edward Island) during the 2012/2013winter season, as previously reported in the mid-winter update. This represents a continued expansion of Geomyces destructans distribution on the landscape and thus far evidence of geographic barriers preventing its spread is lacking. White-nose syndrome is now confirmed in 22 states and 5 Canadian provinces since it was first recognized near Albany, New York in 2007. Numerous additional counties throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio had confirmed cases of WNS this winter indicating that the disease is now endemic in these states within two years of its initial detection in those areas. Sites in several northeastern states where WNS has been present the longest continue to be occupied by bats although in much lower numbers. Other states report a surge in total winter bat counts at some sites either concurrent with the first year of detection of WNS or in the preceding winter. It is unclear if this surge represents immigrants from other sites and/or a shift in roosting location of the local bat population from unsurveyed portions of the hibernaculum. Winter hibernacula survey data are being reviewed by state and federal management agencies to better understand the on-going impacts of WNS on bat populations in affected regions. Also of note, G. destructans DNA has been detected on endangered Virginia big-eared bats (Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus) hibernating in at least one known contaminated site; no mortality or visible signs of disease are reported in this species at this time.

For the latest WNS updates, consult NWHC Wildlife Health Bulletins. Current NWHC bat submission guidelines are available here. Contact: Anne Ballmann, National Wildlife Health Center, 608-270-2445, aballmann@usgs.gov

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