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National Wildlife Health Center

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USGS National Wildlife Health Center
Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report
April 2002 to June 2002

Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
AK Anchorage 06/07/02-06/19/02 Black-capped Chickadee 7 Open NW
AR Garland Co., Lake Ouachita 12/13/01-01/30/02 Bald Eagle 2 Vacuolar myelinopathy NW
CA Siskiyou Co., Lower Klameth NWR 02/15/02-04/15/02 American Coot, Snow Goose, Ross' Goose, Tundra Swan 2000(e) Avian Cholera NW
CA Los Angeles Co., Zuma Beach 04/19/02-05/30/02 Brown Pelican, Unidentified Loon, Unidentified Grebe 136 Open NW
GA Floyd County, Almuchee 03/11/02-03/11/02 Common Grackle 5 Toxicosis: Famphur SC
GA Banks County, Commerce 03/23/02-03/26/02 Purple Finch 2(e) Mycoplasma SC
GA Ft. Stewart 03/01/02-03/01/02 Bullfrog 10(e) Fungal Infection : chytrid NW
GA J Strom Thurmond Lake/Clarks Hill 10/20/01-01/31/02 Canada Goose, Bald Eagle, American Coot 25(e) Vacuolar myelinopathy SC
GA Lowndes Co., Moody Air Force Base 05/20/02-05/20/02 Unidentified Sparrow 11 Open: toxicosis suspect NW
GA Camden County 01/09/02-03/09/02 Northern Cardinal 5 Salmonellosis SC
GA Monroe County 03/04/02-03/11/02 American Goldfinch 2(E) Salmonellosis SC
GA Walton County 03/21/02-04/04/02 White-throated Sparrow Pine Siskin, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch 4(e) Salmonellosis SC
GA Washington County 05/22/02-06/06/02 Brown-headed Cowbird 1 Salmonellosis SC
LA Avoyelles Parrish, 05/15/02-05/15/02 Southern Leopard Frog 13 Open NW
LA Kenner 05/17/02-06/10/02 Muscovy Duck 30 Duck plague suspect LSU
MD Wicomico Co., Salisbury 10/01/01-04/15/02 Unidentified Gull 200 Toxicosis suspect MD,NW
MS Hinds County 05/21/02-06/15/02 Red-eared Slider Turtle 25 Fat depletion NW
MT Sheridan Co., Medicine Lake NWR 04/26/02-06/07/02 Western Grebe, American White Pelican, Unidentified Gull, Double-crested Cormorant 22 Botulism type C NW
NC Onslow Co., Camp. Lejeune MCB 3/01/02-03/01/02 Bullfrog 5(e) Fungal Infection: chytrid NW
NY Erie Co., Lackawanna, Bethlehem Steel 06/25/02-ongoing Ring-billed Gull 3,000(e) Botulism type E NW
NY Lake Erie shore 06/10/02-ongoing Mudpuppy salamander 20,000(e) Open NW
NY Oneida County, Utica 09/19/01-09/19/01 Rock Dove 1 Toxicosis: Avitrol NY
OH Hamilton Co., Cincinnati 04/19/02-04/19/02 Double-crested cormorant 10 Electrocution: lightning strike NW
OH Mosquito Lake State Park 05/18/02-05/22/02 Purple Martin 60 Open: emaciation/starvation NW
PA Erie Co., Presque Isle Bay, Lake Erie 04/01/01-09/30/01 Unidentified Softshell Turtle, Map Turtle 100(e) Pneumonia NW
PA Erie Co., Presque Isle State Park 05/10/02-06/01/02 Map Turtle, Painted Turtle 15(e) Enteritis NW
RI Washington Co., Cranberry and Opacum Ponds 06/15/02-07/15/02 Wood Fro, Painted Turtle 100(e) Viral Infection: Iridovirus NW
SC Aiken County 04/24/02-04/24/02 Canada Goose 2 Toxicosis: diazinon SC
SD Brown Co., Aberdeen 04/24/02-04/24/02 Cedar Waxwing, Common Grackle, Northern Flicker, American Crow, American Robin 100 (e) Open NW
UT Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge 05/30/02-06/05/02 Western Grebe, Clark's Grebe 30(e) Emaciation NW
UT Kane Co., Big Water 06/28/02-07/07/02 House Finch, Yellow-breasted Chat 6 Open NW
UT Iron Co., Cedar City, and Parowan 05/16/02-05/31/02 Pine Siskin, Evening Grosbeak 51(e) Salmonellosis NW
UT Uintah Co., Roosevelt 05/22/02-06/10/02 Cassin's Finch, Pine Siskin 36(e) Salmonellosis NW
VT Grand Isle Co., South Hero 03/25/02-04/10/02 Northern Leopard Frog 100(e) Exposure suspect NW
WA King Co., Seattle 05/02/02-05/02/02 American Crow 2 Toxicosis: organophosphorus cmpd. suspect NW
WI Upper Mississippi NWR, LaCrosse 06/26/02-07/01/02 Mallard Duck 5(e) Open: emancipation/starvation NW
Updates and Corrections:
Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
FL Okaloosa Co., Destin Harbor 02/01/02-ongoing Brown Pelican, Common Loon, Osprey, American White Pelican Wood Duck 60(e) Open NW
FL Everglades National Park 02/25/02-03/30/02 Cuban Tree Frog 15(e) Viral Infection: Iridovirus NW
IL Winnebago Co., Rockford 12/26/01-ongoing House Sparrow 120(e) Salmonellosis NW

(e) = estimate, * = morbidity and mortality

New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (NY), Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SC), USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NW), Louisiana State University (LSU), Maryland Department of Agriculture (MD).

Written and compiled by Kathryn Converse/Rex Sohn - Western US, Grace McLaughlin - Eastern US and 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

Continuing mortalities associated with Lake Erie.
For the fourth consecutive year, there were a variety of mortality reports associated with Lake Erie. Starting in May 2002, approximately a dozen common map turtles died in a small area of Presque Isle Bay, Pennsylvania. Some turtles submitted to NWHC had severe, fibrinous, necrotizing enteritis; no etiologic agent was identified. In late June, there were reports of more than 10,000 dead mudpuppies (Necturus sp.) along the southern shore of Lake Erie in New York; 1-3 mudpuppies, up to 30 cm in length, found per meter of shoreline. Residents along the north shore of Lake Erie in Ontario Canada, reported hundreds of dead mudpuppies. About 32 km west of this mortality, the Canadian Wildlife Service observed a few gulls showing signs of botulism on a nesting island. Mudpuppy remains have been found in gull digestive tracts. Radiotelemetry studies support the possibility that gulls could have made foraging flights greater than the distance between these mudpuppy events and their nesting colony. Also in late June, up to 3000 dead ring-billed gulls were reported in a colony of 10,000 birds in New York. Botulism type E toxin was detected via mouse assay in gulls from this colony. Estimates ranging from 10 to the 100's of rock bass, small mouth bass, carp, suckers, perch, gobies, catfish, bullheads, and sheepshead were observed dead along the Lake Erie shore at locations in Pennsylvania and New York throughout this time period. There was also one report of dead sheepshead in the far western portion of Lake Erie, near Sandusky, Ohio. No cause of mortality has been determined for the mudpuppy and fish kills, some of which may be related to oxygen depleting conditions. Other possible intoxications include microcystins and type E botulism. Researchers, diagnosticians, biologists, and managers in Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio are maintaining frequent contact regarding these mortalities.

California Brown Pelican Mortalities along the Southern California Coast
From mid-April until the end of June 2002, US Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and wildlife rehabilitators reported mortality of brown pelicans on the southern California coast. Personnel from Wild Rescue in Malibu, California reported the recovery of 131 dead and 32 live brown pelicans and small numbers of other fish-eating seabirds along the coast from Santa Barbara to San Diego. This avian mortality event coincided with significant mortality in seals, sea otters and dolphins along the same stretch of coast. The suspected etiologic agent for marine mammal and fish-eating bird mortalities was domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin produced by plankton that is ingested and concentrated by small marine fish and crustaceans. Four brown pelicans were submitted to the NWHC for diagnostic evaluation; two pelicans had no significant gross pathological lesions and two had fibrinous laryngitis and pulmonary hemorrhage or abscesses. Samples from two pelicans sent to the NOAA National Ocean Services Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina were positive for domoic acid based on a receptor-binding assay. Receptor-binding assay results for the remaining two birds and quantitative results for domoic acid from liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry are pending.

Songbird Mortality in Utah.
Wildlife biologists from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Division of Wildlife Resources in Utah reported songbird mortality in May and early June near bird feeders at several widely scattered suburban and rural sites in eastern and southern Utah. NWHC received birds from three mortality events involving pine siskins, Cassin's finches, house finches, evening grosbeaks, and a yellow-breasted chat. Salmonellosis was diagnosed in birds from two locations based on gross pathological lesions and positive bacterial cultures. The specimens submitted from the third event were not suitable for examination.

Famphur mortality in Idaho.
On January 30, 2001 the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) was notified of a mass mortality of birds of mixed species along Indian Creek in Caldwell, Idaho. Approximately 150 carcasses were picked up initially including 80% mallards, 15% pintails, 5% widgeons, 8 - 10 pigeons, and 1 red-tailed hawk. Initial investigations performed by the IDFG Wildlife Health Laboratory suggested the involvement of an organophosphate or carbamate pesticide as a cause of death. Subsequent testing by the University of Idaho Toxicology Laboratory identified the presence of famphur (Warbex) in specimens. The famphur poisoning resulted from an unintentional contamination of some grain. Frozen carcasses were submitted to the National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) for diagnostic evaluation on February 21, 2002. All birds evaluated (2 mallards, 1 pintail and 1 Red-tailed hawk) were in good body condition. The ducks had large quantities of corn in the upper GI tract, while the hawk had meat and black feathers in the proventriculus. Brain cholinesterase activity levels for the 4 birds were depressed from 73% to 83% below normal levels with no reversal after incubation suggesting the presence of an organophosphate pesticide. Additional testing will be done on upper gastrointestinal contents of birds submitted to NWHC.

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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