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USGS National Wildlife Health Center
Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report
July 2009 to September 2009

Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
AK Icy Cape 09/16/09-09/16/09 Walrus 131 Trauma OT
CA Humboldt Bay NWR 07/01/09-9/1/09 Double-crested Cormorant 25 (e) Open: emaciation NW
CA Laguna Niguel Regional Park 08/10/09-8/19/09 Mallard, Common Moorhen, Blue-winged Teal, Unidentified Coot, Killdeer 40 (e) Botulism suspect NON
CA Lower Klamath Lake 08/01/09-10/07/09 Northern Pintail, American Coot, Green-winged Teal, Mallard 3,000 (e) Botulism type C NW
CA Salton Sea NWR 06/04/09-**** American White Pelican, California Brown Pelican, Canada Goose, Ring-billed Gull 100 (e) Viral Infection: West Nile NW
CO Hubbard Cave 08/02/09-08/02/09 Townsend's Big-eared Bat, Western Long-eared Bat, Western Small-footed Bat 11 Open: emaciation CO, NW
FL Pinellas County 06/23/09-07/09/09 Mallard 15 (e) Botulism type C NW
ID American Falls 08/01/09-11/12/09 Unidentified Grebe, Unidentified Duck or Goose, Unidentified Shorebird, Blue-winged Teal, Canada Goose 20,000 (e) Botulism type C ID, NW
ID Latah County 07/15/09-10/04/09 Columbia Spotted Frog, Pacific Treefrog 200 (e) Fungal Infection: Chytrid suspect, Viral Infection: Ranavirus NW
ID Valley County 07/11/09-07/14/09 Little Brown Bat 30 Toxicosis: Carbofuran, Toxicosis: Methiocarb, Pneumonia ID, NW
ID Sawtooth National Forest 08/18/09-08/23/09 Timber (Gray) Wolf 6 Parvovirus ID, NFL, NW
IN Multiple Counties 06/01/09-08/01/09 Big Brown Bat, Little Brown Bat 190 (e) Emaciation NW
ME Androscoggin County 09/01/09-09/15/09 Mallard, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull 6 Aspergillosis NW
ME Kennebec Point 07/07/09-8/1/09 Common Eider, Herring Gull, Double-crested Cormorant 21 Emaciation, Toxicosis suspect NW
MI Livingston County, Genesee County 07/24/09-10/15/09 White-tailed Deer 400 (e) Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease MI
MI Wayne County 08/02/09-08/31/09 Mallard, Hybrid Duck, Pectoral Sandpiper, American Black Duck, Great Egret 127 Botulism type C MI
MN Marsh Lake 06/05/09-08/31/09 American White Pelican, Ring-billed Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, Unidentified Goose, Unidentified Egret 1,440 (e) Viral Infection: West Nile, Bacterial Infection: Riemerella anatipestifer NW
MN Pelican Lake 07/25/09-08/25/09 Ring-billed Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Canada Goose 2,150 (e) Aspergillosis, Salmonellosis NW, UMN
MN Montevideo 09/23/09-09/24/09 Common Yellowthroat 47 Trauma: weather suspect NW
MT Lake Bowdoin 07/26/09-09/15/09 American White Pelican, Ring-billed Gull 220 Viral Infection: West Nile NW
MT Pablo Island 08/01/09-08/30/09 Double-crested Cormorant 29 (e) Emaciation: parasitism NW
MT Billings 06/15/09-07/09/09 American Robin 6 Emaciation: parasitism NW
MT Kalispell 08/07/09-08/15/09 American Crow 6 Viral Infection: West Nile NW
MT Three Forks 07/23/09-08/03/09 Rock Dove 39 Toxicosis: salt, Toxicosis: boron NW
ND Beaver Lake WPA 07/12/09-07/28/09 Franklin's Gull 300 (e) Emaciation, , Trauma, Bacterial Infection suspect NW
ND Carrington 08/10/09-08/31/09 Ring-billed Gull 15 (e) Aspergillosis NW
ND Lake Sakakawea 07/20/09-09/01/09 Ring-billed Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, American White Pelican, Least Tern, Mallard 1,500 Salmonellosis, Trauma, Viral Infection: West Nile, Botulism type C NW
ND Horseshoe Lake WPA 08/16/09-09/20/09 American Coot, Redhead Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler 42 (e) Botulism type C NW
ND Lake Alice 08/20/09-09/18/09 Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, American Coot 300 (e) Botulism type C NW
ND Lake Zahl NWR 07/12/09-07/22/09 Ring-billed Gull 1,000 (e) Bacterial Infection, Botulism type C NW
ND Lignite 09/10/09-09/10/09 Common Grackle 39 Toxicosis: Famphur NW
ND Lignite 08/04/09-08/05/09 Mourning Dove, Unidentified Sparrow 7 Toxicosis: Famphur NW
NE Springview 09/22/09-09/25/09 Blue-winged Teal, American Coot, Pied-billed Grebe 15 (e) Trauma NW
NH Multiple Counties 05/07/09-09/15/09 Big Brown Bat, Little Brown Bat 12 Trauma, Open NW
NJ Hunterdon County 06/01/09-08/05/09 Little Brown Bat 45 (e) Open NW
NV Reno 07/28/09-08/23/09 Mallard, Canada Goose, Gadwall, Domestic Duck 76 Botulism type C NW
NV Sheldon NWR 07/15/09-08/08/09 Bullfrog 50 (e) Open NW
OH Lake Erie 07/01/09-09/07/09 Lake Erie Water Snake, Blue Racer 15 (e) Trauma, Septicemia NW
OH Perry Island 08/01/09-ongoing House Sparrow, Mourning Dove, American Robin, Blue Jay 35 (e) Open: toxicosis suspect NW
OR Silver Falls State Park 07/13/09-07/21/09 Townsend's Big-eared Bat 11 Rabies, Emaciation NW
PA Benner Springs State Fish Hatchery 07/01/09-10/15/09 Snapping Turtle 15 (e) Emaciation: starvation, Viral Infection: Ranavirus NW
TN Centennial Park 07/12/09-07/13/09 Canada Goose, Unidentified Duck 40 (e) Undetermined NW, OT
UT Great Salt Lake (entire basin, especially the NE arm) 07/29/09-10/28/09 American Avocet, Mallard, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, Wilson's Phalarope 50,000 (e) Botulism type C NW
UT Beaver County 07/27/09-08/03/09 Brazilian Free-tailed Bat 300 (e) Trauma NW, UT
WA Olympic National Park 09/13/09-10/20/09 Alaskan Sea Otter 11 Open: trauma suspect, Pulmonary edema, Deformities; etiology undetermined NW
WA Meta Lake 07/20/09-08/05/09 Western Toad 1,000,000 (e) Fungal Infection: Saprolegnia sp. NW
WA Olympic National Park 09/09/09-**** Common Murre, White-winged Scoter, Surf Scoter 10,000 (e) Open: emaciation, Toxicosis suspect CO, NW, OT
WA Ferry County 07/12/09-07/19/09 Unidentified Bat 20 (e) Undetermined NW
WA Mount Rainier NP 07/07/09-09/30/09 Northwestern Salamander 108 Emaciation: starvation NW
WI Door County 08/19/09-11/31/09 Ring-billed Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, Unidentified Gull, Herring Gull, Common Loon 23 Botulism type E NW
WI Horicon NWR 06/29/09-08/11/09 Mallard, American White Pelican, Ring-billed Gull 17 Botulism type C NW
WI Vilas County 07/20/09-08/18/09 Green Frog, Northern Leopard Frog, Bullfrog 800 (e) Viral Infection: Ranavirus NW
Updates and Corrections:
Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
MT Yellowstone County 04/17/09-04/17/09 Bohemian Waxwing 12 Toxicosis suspect, Trauma MT, NW
WA Potholes Reservoir 03/18/09-03/19/09 California Gull, Ring-billed Gull 300 (e) Open NW

(e) = estimate, *** Mortality estimate not available at this time, **** Cessation date not available at this time. Suspect diagnosis = diagnosis is not finalized, but field signs and historic patterns indicate the disease.

Disease Laboratory of the California Fish & Game (CFG), Colorado State University (CO), Idaho Wildlife Health Laboratory (ID), Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MI), Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Diagnostic Lab (MT), Ashland National Forensics Laboratory (NFL), No diagnostics pursued (NON), USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NW), Other (OT), UC Davis (UCD), University of Minnesota Diagnostic Laboratory (UMN), Utah State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab (UT)

Written and compiled by: Anne Ballmann - Eastern US, LeAnn White – Central US, Krysten Schuler - Western US, Jennifer Buckner – Field Investigation Team Case Manager.

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

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

Eastern United States

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

Western United States

Krysten Schuler
Wildlife Disease Ecologist
Phone: (608) 270-2447
FAX: (608) 270-2415
Email: kschuler@usgs.gov

Hawaiian Islands

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

Parasitism of song and water birds (Montana)
In August 2009, approximately 29 double-crested cormorants were found dead on a nesting island in Lake County, Montana. Only one carcass was suitable for submission to NWHC; this bird was emaciated and heavily parasitized by Syngamus trachea and several other gastrointestinal parasites. S. trachea is a nematode that infects the respiratory tract of wild and domestic birds and is often referred to as a gapeworm because adult worms can block the trachea of infected birds causing them to “gape” or gasp for air. Severe gapeworm infections that cause clinical illness are thought to be uncommon in wildlife; however, recently lowered water levels in the reservoir surrounding the nesting island may have increased the availability of invertebrates, crustaceans, mollusks, or fish (which serve as host for various parasites) to foraging cormorants.

Parasitism also was a cause of death for American robins found in the yard of a private residence in Montana. The parasites involved in this mortality event were acanthocephalans (Plagiorhynchus sp.) and several nematode species. The pathogenesis associated with acanthocephalan infections are poorly understood, but paralyzed and moribund American robins with acanthocephalans have previously been reported.

Viral and bacterial infections in pelicans (Minnesota)
During an annual banding project of American white pelicans by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, biologists reported a large number of dead and moribund animals at a large pelican breeding colony in Minnesota. West Nile virus (WNv) was determined to be the primary cause of this large die-off; however, several fledglings from one focal location of nestlings had severe infections with the bacteria Riemerella anatipestifer. WNv has been documented previously in juvenile American white pelicans at this Minnesota location and several other major breeding colony locations in the northern plains. R. anatipestifer infections are primarily observed in domestic waterfowl, but also have been observed in several other waterfowl species including wood ducks, snow geese, and tundra swans.

Large-scale botulism type C outbreaks in waterfowl (Utah, Idaho)
Botulism type C is a neurotoxin produced by bacteria, Clostridium botulinium, under appropriate environmental conditions. Overall, botulism events decreased this year with above normal precipitation values across many western states and below normal temperatures in the Midwest (National Climatic Data Center, http://www.noaa.gov). There were, however, several disease outbreaks that killed tens of thousands of waterfowl. The largest event this year occurred at the Great Salt Lake, Utah. Biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and the Utah Division of Wildlife estimated that more than 50,000 ducks, gulls, shorebirds, and grebes died between July and October. Historic records indicate botulism events occurred as early as 1912 at the Bear River refuge. Over fifteen outbreaks that killed thousands of birds have occurred sporadically over the years, the largest being in 1980 and 1997 with 100,000 and 250,000 birds, respectively. Less than 150 miles to the north, American Falls reservoir, Idaho, and several surrounding water bodies experienced a die-off of 20,000 ducks, geese, shorebirds, and grebes between August and November of 2009. This was the first event of this magnitude at this location, although previous smaller outbreaks occurred between 1982 and 1984 and in 1997. On-site management activities included the removal of carcasses to reduce further transmission of the toxin.

Unusual morbidity and mortality in Lake Erie water snakes (Ohio)
Around the beginning of July, several dead Lake Erie water snakes (Nerodia sipedon insularum) were found floating in the water without obvious signs of trauma. Sick snakes were weak and lacked a righting reflex when placed on their backs. Subsequent submissions in late August presented with small blister-like lesions rather than neurologic signs. Of the eleven snakes submitted to NWHC, no singular cause of death could be determined. Snakes experienced mortality from trauma, dystocia, malignant leukemia, and bacterial sepsis. Botulism type E was initially suspected as a cause in snakes with neurologic signs, due to the water snake’s diet consisting mainly of round gobies (Neogobius melanostomus) and links to botulism type E in water birds feeding on round gobies, but conventional tests for botulism were negative. The Lake Erie water snake lives offshore on islands in western Lake Erie and is federally listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Quarterly Mortality Report represents the most current information available to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center at the time of publication. We encourage researchers to contact us to acquire data directly. External request forms for mortality information can be obtained from Jennifer Buckner at 608-270-2443 or email: jBuckner@usgs.gov.

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