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National Wildlife Health Center

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USGS National Wildlife Health Center
Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report
April 2004 to June 2004

Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
AL Wheeler NWR 05/18/04-05/27/04 Southern Leopard Frog 150 (e) Parasitism: trematodiasis NW
AZ Santa Cruz County 06/26/04-07/08/04 Canyon Tree Frog 28 Open NW
BVI Tortola, British Virgin Islands 05/22/04-05/31/04 Laughing Gull; Cattle Egret 14 Toxicosis: carbamate suspect NW
CA Modoc NWR 06/14/04-06/21/04 Bullfrog 50 (e) Open NW
CA Monterey County 02/13/04-03/25/04 Band-Tailed Pigeon 2,000(e) Parasitism: trichomoniasis CFG
CA Tehama County 03/04/04-03/09/04 Band-Tailed Pigeon 40 Parasitism: trichomoniasis suspect CFG
CA Yucca Valley and Morongo Valley 03/23/04-06/11/04 Mourning Dove 1,400(e) Parasitism: trichomoniasis CFG
FL Jefferson County 02/29/04-ongoing Northern Cardinal; Bobwhite Quail 13 Open FL
FL Pinellas County 05/11/04-ongoing Mallard; Muscovy; American Coot; Unidentified Cormorant; Unidentified Fish 76 (e) Botulism suspect FL
GA Douglas County 04/12/04-04/16/04 Cedar Waxwing 67 (e) Trauma SCW
GA McIntosh County 03/25/04-03/27/04 Ring-Billed Gull; Fish Crow 20 Toxicosis: CHE-inhibiting cmpd SCW
IA Dickinson County 06/17/04-06/23/04 Canada Goose 20 (e) Toxicosis: organophosphorus cmpd. suspect NW
IL Winnebago County 06/27/04-ongoing Little Brown Bat 20 (e) Open NW
KY Rockcastle County 04/20/04-ongoing Jefferson Salamander; Marbled Salamander; Wood Frog; Eastern Red-Spotted Newt; Green Frog 500 (e) Viral Infection: Ranavirus NW
MA Barnstable County 05/04/04-ongoing Common Eider 200 (e) Parasitism: acanthocephaliasis NW
MN Isanti County 06/02/04-06/08/04 Wood Frog 300 (e) Viral Infection: Ranavirus NW
MN Lac Qui Parle WMA 05/30/04-08/01/04 American White Pelican 200 (e) Open NW
MN Lake of the Woods County 06/17/04-ongoing American White Pelican; Ring-Billed Gull; Double-Crested Cormorant 82 (e) Open NW
MS Harrison County 02/10/04-ongoing Bullfrog; Southern Leopard Frog 30 Parasitism: Perkinsus-like organism NW
ND Chase Lake NWR 05/15/04-05/19/04 American White Pelican 10 (e) Botulism type C NW
ND Long Lake NWR 06/03/04-06/21/04 American White Pelican 4 Open NW
ND Sheridan County 05/30/04-06/05/04 American White Pelican 8 (e) Open NW
ND Sullys Hill NWR 05/27/04-06/02/04 Double-Crested Cormorant 13 Open NW
NM Sierra County 04/03/04-05/11/04 Tiger Salamander 100 (e) Viral Infection: Ranavirus NW
NV Clark County 06/01/04-07/20/04 Unidentified Duck; Killdeer; American Avocet; Unidentified Quail; Unidentified Avian 300 (e) Botulism type C NW
OR Douglas County 05/11/04-05/11/04 Vaux's Swift 35 (e) Pulmonary edema NW
SC Anderson County 02/29/04-03/03/04 Common Grackle 15 (e) Septicemia SCW
SD Brown County 05/28/04-06/07/04 Cedar Waxwing 30 (e) Toxicosis: cyanide NW
VA Southampton County 06/25/04-06/25/04 Canada Goose 5 Toxicosis: CHE-inhibiting cmpd NW
VA Virginia Beach County 06/11/04-06/25/04 Mallard 36 Toxicosis: CHE-inhibiting cmpd NW
VA Virginia Beach County 05/14/04-05/18/04 Muscovy; Mallard 30 (e) Duck plague NW
WI Sawyer County 04/18/04-05/29/04 Great Blue Heron 107 Trauma: storm NW
Updates and Corrections:
Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
FL Duval County 01/30/04-04/01/04 Eastern Brown Pelican 50 (e) Open NW
TX Nueces County 01/02/04-01/04/04 Northern Gannet 8 (e) Open NW
US All continental states except CO, DC, DE, ID, MA, MD, ME, MT, NC, NH, NM, NV, OR, RI, SC, UT, VT, WA and WV 01/02/04-ongoing American Crow; Unidentified Crow; Blue Jay; Unidentified Hawk; Common Grackle 500 (e) Viral Infection: West Nile CDC, NW, ST

(e) = estimate

Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCW), USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NW), California Fish and Game (CFG), Florida Game and Fish (FL).

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

West Nile Virus Continued Spread across North American Continent in 2003 (CORRECTION).
By the end of 2003, West Nile virus (WNV) activity was detected in 45 continental states and the District of Columbia, 7 Canadian provinces, and in several Mexican states. Interestingly, although WNV was detected in the state of Washington in 2002, WNV activity was not detected there in 2003. As of January 2004, over 13,000 dead birds have tested positive for WNV. The list of species found positive for WNV continues to grow longer, currently with over 220 avian, 22 mammalian and 1 reptilian species. In addition to the wildlife species, almost 6000 horses and over 11,000 human cases (including 231 deaths) in 2003 were reported by public health agencies in the United States and Canada. Although the number of reported human cases was significantly greater in 2003, the actual number of the severe form of disease (meningitis/encephalitis) is similar to that reported in 2002. At this time, there is no direct evidence for any significant change in the virulence of the WNV strain in North America. The Midwestern states were the primary foci of activity in 2002, while in 2003 the Rocky Mountain states of CO, WY, and MT were the major foci of virus activity in 2003. Based on observed trends of WNV activity in North America, public health and wildlife officials in the western United States are anticipating high WNV activity in their states in 2004. It remains unknown if and when WNV will arrive in Hawaii and Alaska, and the impact WNV will have on the avifauna of these states.

Acanthocephalan infections in Massachusetts common eiders.
Beginning in early May 2004 and continuing into early June, sick and dead common eiders were reported along Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Approximately 350 common eiders were reported dead in Wellfleet Bay through counts made by wildlife rehabilitators and National Park Service personnel. Birds were submitted to the National Wildlife Health Center, where it was found that large numbers of acanthocephalans had severely damaged the intestines. Some birds also had very high numbers of cestodes that may have compromised the birds’ nutritional status. The NWHC Epizoo database contains information on 14 mortality events involving common eiders. There were eight mortality events that occurred before 1990; six were attributed to avian cholera and occurred off the coast of Maine. Of the six mortality events since 1990, one on the St. Lawrence nesting islands was caused by avian cholera and three that occurred off the coast of Cape Cod were attributed to acanthocephalans.

Avian Botulism at a New Site in Nevada.
In mid June 2004, personnel of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Las Vegas, Nevada Field Office reported mortality of waterfowl, shorebirds and an occasional songbird or upland game bird at a nature preserve encompassing secondary and tertiary wastewater treatment ponds. The facility includes 122 acres with 14 separate wetlands and no previous history of avian mortality. By the first FWS site visit on June 16, approximately 200 dead birds had been collected and deposited in a landfill by treatment plant workers. Three hundred to five hundred water birds remained at risk. The weather had been unusually hot (daytime highs >1000 F) for several weeks. FWS biologists collected two weak, lethargic ducks with drooping heads for diagnostic evaluation at the NWHC. At necropsy no significant gross pathological lesions were observed and botulism type C toxin was confirmed in blood from both ducks. The FWS biologists encouraged the treatment plant personnel to intensify their surveillance and carcass collection efforts. Over the course of the next month 100 more birds were collected. A liver culture from one bird contained Riemerella (Pasteurella) anatipestifer, the agent of New Duck Disease; however, no gross or microscopic pathological lesions consistent with that disease were observed in the duck.

Cyanide intoxication of songbirds detected.
For the second year in a row, cedar waxwing mortality in South Dakota appears to be linked to cyanide toxicity following ingestion of buds from Cotoneaster pyracantha shrubs. This thorny evergreen shrub grows 3-8 feet high and is native to southern Europe and western Asia. It is a favored ornamental because of the numerous white flowers followed by bright red haws. Toxicity can vary by the amount ingested and clinical signs include initial rapid respirations followed by slow breathing, anxiety, confusion, vomiting and dizziness. This year an estimated 30 cedar waxwings were reported in the Aberdeen, South Dakota area between May and June. In 2003, the timing of 200 cedar waxwing deaths was first correlated with their feeding in budding and flowering shrubs that contain cyanogenic glycosides. Analysis of tissues from birds in 2003 and 2004 found levels of cyanide were elevated but below the 1.0 ppm toxic dose. The combination of time between death and handling of samples could account for lowering of the tissues cyanide levels. Analysis of GI contents and plant samples by South Dakota State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in 2003 and 2004 showed levels of cyanide >200 ppm the toxic range to all animals. In 2002, an estimated 100 waxwings died in the Aberdeen area from late May through July. It was suspected from field observations and necropsy examinations that the birds were poisoned but the connection to ingestion of Cotoneaster sp. was unknown and no cyanide tests were done. NWHC acknowledges the staff of the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge staff whose observation and collection of birds and plant materials over the past three years allowed this investigation to be completed.

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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