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National Wildlife Health Center

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USGS National Wildlife Health Center
Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report
October 1996 to December 1996

Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
Clark, Garland Counties AR 11/07/96-01/31/97 Bald Eagle, American Coot 25 Open NW
CA Yolo Bypass near Davis 07/05/96-07/11/96 Mallard, Unidentified Fish 17 Botulism Type C CA
CA Sacramento NWR Complex 12/14/96-02/10/97 Snow Goose; Ross' Goose; American Coot; White-fronted Goose, American Wigeon 851 Avian cholera NW
CA Lower Klamath 12/23/96-12/31/96 American Coot 40(e) Avian cholera NW
CO Park County near Guffey 08/19/96-08/30/96 Tiger Salamander 100(e) Open NW
IA Lake Mills, Rice Lake 10/17/96-10/31/96 Canada Goose 50(e) Open NW
IA Forney Lake 12/09/96-12/13/96 Snow Goose 70(e) Avian cholera suspect IA
IA Desoto Lake 12/11/96-12/19/96 Snow Goose 50(e) Avian cholera NW
KS Lenexa 12/20/96-01/31/97 Canada Goose 155 Lead poisoning NW
LA Blind River 05/24/96-05/24/96 Great Blue Heron; Snowy Egret; Great Egret; Wood Duck; Yellow-crowned Night Heron 13 Toxicosis: petroleum (gasoline) NW
MN Lac Qui Parle Lake 11/07/96-12/15/96 Canada Goose; Mallard 221 Avian cholera suspect MN
MN Twin Cites 10/08/96-10/08/96 Canada Goose 8 Toxicosis: diazinon NW
MN Lac Qui Parle Lake 11/07/96-12/15/96 Mallard 42 Lead poisoning MN
MO Silver Lake 11/13/96-12/02/96 Snow Goose; Ross' Goose; Green-winged Teal; Canada Goose; Ruddy Duck 392 Avian cholera NW
MS Gulf Islands National Seashore 11/19/96-11/20/96 Greater Scaup; Common Loon; Brown Pelican; Pied-billed Grebe; Double-crested Cormorant 24 Toxicosis: brevetoxin suspect NW
MT Foust Slough 11/25/96-12/10/96 Mallard 100(e) Aspergillosis NW
NC North Charleston 10/22/96-11/22/96 Common Grackle 7 Toxicosis: chlorpyrifos (Dursban) SC
NE North Platte 11/25/96-12/03/96 Mallard 1500(e) Aspergillosis suspect NE
NM Bosque del Apache NWR 11/18/96-11/30/96 Snow Goose; Ross' Goose; Sandhill Crane; Northern Pintail; Mallard 238 Avian cholera NW
NV Stillwater NWR 07/16/96-09/23/96 American Coot; American Avocet; Franklin's Gull; Eared Grebe; Mallard 60 Botulism NW
NV Carson City 09/01/96-09/30/96 House Finch 10(e) Open NW
NV Humboldt WMA 10/03/96-10/14/96 American Coot; Northern Pintail; Northern Shoveler; Green-winged Teal; Gadwall 498 Botulism suspect NW
NY Delmar, Westerlo, Levittown, Berne, Huntington, North Hempstead, Babylon, Nyack 04/01/96-12/31/96 Cooper's Hawk; Red-tailed Hawk; American Crow; American Robin; European Starling 12 Toxicosis: Chlordane/ dieldren NY
OH Toledo 07/01/96- 08/19/96 Cooper's Hawk 6 Open NW
OH Montgomery County 12/30/96-01/13/97 Canada Goose 80(e) Lead poisoning NW
OR Goose Bay, Upper Klamath Lake 11/24/96-11/27/96 Ruddy Duck; Unidentified Gull; Eared Grebe; Common Merganser; American Coot 395 Avian cholera NW
SD Neuharth Marsh 09/07/96-09/18/96 American Coot; Mallard 300(e) Botulism suspect NW
TX Matagorda Bay to Padre 11/01/96-11/20/96 Double-crested Cormorant 60(e) Emaciation/trauma NW
UT Near Salt Lake City 09/19/96-09/19/96 Canada Goose 26 Open NW
WI Shawano Lake 10/26/96-11/15/96 American Coot; Lesser Scaup; Ruddy Duck; Mallard; Unidentified Teal 2116 Parasitism: Sphaeridiotrema sp. NW

(e) = estimate; * = morbidity and mortality

National Wildlife Health Center (NW); California Department of Fish and Game - Wildlife Investigations Laboratory (CA); Iowa DNR (IA); Minnesota DNR (MN); Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SC); Nebraska Game and Parks (NE); New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NY).

Written and compiled by Gregory Kidd, 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

NOTE: Effective October 1, 1996, the National Wildlife Health Center ceased differentiating its mortality reports by geographic region. The mortality table accompanying this report, therefore, lists all events by state in alphabetical order.

There were 30 events reported to NWHC this quarter. A large scale bald eagle mortality event has occurred for the second time in three years in southwestern Arkansas. In early November, bald eagles and American coots were found sick and dead on De Gray Lake. From November through January, a total of 25 affected eagles were found on Lakes De Gray, Ouachita and Hamilton. In general, the birds were in good body condition with no gross lesions. All ages and both sexes were affected. The only abnormality noted in eagles and affected coots were microscopic changes in the white matter of the brain, described by NWHC pathologists and others as vacuolar myelinopathy. This is the same lesion noted in the 1994/1995 mortality event. Extensive diagnostic testing has ruled out bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases. It is most likely that the mortality is caused by a toxin, either manmade or naturally occurring. Comprehensive toxicology testing has not, as yet, revealed a cause for the deaths. This mortality event has been the focus of intensive diagnostic, research and field study. NWHC has been working with a multi-agency task force on disease identification, management and prevention.

An estimated 50 migrating Canada geese died at Rice Lake in Lake Mills, Iowa during mid-October. Geese were reported to be emaciated with swollen necks and lead poisoning was suspected. Necropsy examination confirmed the geese were emaciated with extensive esophageal impactions, enlarged gall bladders and one goose had Aspergillus plaques in an airsac. Despite the suspected diagnosis of lead poisoning, liver lead values were normal. Similar esophageal impactions have been diagnosed in Canada geese secondary to fusariform mold toxicity. Similar die-offs of Canada geese have occurred in the midwest during the past few years. Despite chemical analysis for the presence of tricothecenes, none have been detected.

Nebraska Game and Parks reported mortality of an estimated 1,500 mallards in a field near North Platte. Aspergillosis, a disease caused by the Aspergillus fungus, was diagnosed as the cause of death. While Canada geese and mallards were feeding together in the same field, only the mallards died. It is likely that the mallards were exposed to the Aspergillus fungus by feeding on moldy grain from a source other than the field.

Lead poisoning was involved in three epizootics this quarter. In Lenexa, Kansas and Montgomery County, Ohio, Canada geese apparently ingested spent shot from old trap/skeet range fallout areas. At Lac Qui Parle Lake in western Minnesota, lead poisoning coincided with avian cholera with the lead poisoning being documented only in the mallards.

During late October, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reported mortality in American coots and lesser scaup from Shawano Lake. Coots and ducks submitted to NWHC were diagnosed with verminous enteritis caused by Sphaeridiotrema sp. By mid December, 1,441 coots, 593 diving ducks and 82 dabbling ducks had been collected. In past years, other lakes in the area have had mortality associated with the parasite; this year, however, Shawano Lake was the only lake where the disease was reported.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation reported mortality associated with chlordane/dieldrin from several areas in New York. The report is a combination of 12 separate cases diagnosed from the past summer. Chlordane was used from the mid 1950's to the early 1970's for termite and turf insect control. Almost all uses were banned by the late 1980's. Unfortunately, this organochlorine pesticide has a half-life of up to several years and state personnel believe chlordane related wild bird mortality will continue in New York through the 1990's.

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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