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National Wildlife Health Center

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USGS National Wildlife Health Center
Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report
January 2010 to March 2010

Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
AL Pelican Island 01/06/10-02/01/10 Eastern Brown Pelican, Unidentified Gull, Double-crested Cormorant, Unidentified Tern, Unidentified Dolphin 100 (e) Emaciation: starvation NW
AL Florence 03/17/10-03/18/10 American Crow 15 Undetermined NON
AZ Santa Cruz County 03/21/10-03/22/10 Turkey (Wild), American Goldfinch 8 Undetermined NW
CA Multiple Coastal Counties 01/15/10-02/15/10 California Brown Pelican, Oregon and California 1,500 (e) Starvation CFG, NW, OSR, SWD
QC* Les Collines- de-l'Outaouais County 01/01/10-05/07/10 Little Brown Bat 12 Fungal Infection: white-nose syndrome CCW, NW
FL Lake Lena 01/12/10-01/14/10 Laughing Gull 40 (e) Enteritis: hemorrhagic FL, NW
FL South and Central Florida 01/08/10-01/31/10 Manatee, Crocodile or Alligator, Unidentified Fish, Unidentified Turtle 1,200 (e) Trauma: weather suspect NON
FL St. Petersburg 01/04/10-02/28/10 Eastern Screech Owl 35 Emaciation: starvation FL, NW
ID Market Lake WMA 03/23/10-04/07/10 Lesser Snow Goose, Tundra Swan, American Wigeon, Canada Goose, Ross' Goose 62 Avian cholera ID, NW
KS Rawlins County 01/21/09-02/22/09 Lapland Longspur, Unidentified Avian 80 (e) Trauma SCW
LA Calcasieu County 01/03/10-01/03/10 American Coot 18 (e) Trauma: gunshot SCW
LA Calcasieu Point 01/03/10-01/06/10 Brown Pelican, NOS 12 (e) Starvation SCW
LA Grand Cote NWR 01/19/10-01/25/10 Lesser Snow Goose 32 Aflatoxicosis NW
LA Mandalay NWR 02/01/10-04/22/10 Purple Gallinule, American Coot 3,000 (e) Avian cholera NW
LA Vermilion County 02/01/10-03/01/10 Lesser Snow Goose 600 (e) Lead poisoning NW, SCW
MD Allegany County 03/05/10-05/08/10 Little Brown Bat, Northern Long-eared Bat 16 (e) Fungal Infection: white-nose syndrome NW
MN Lake Pepin 01/12/10-**** Mallard 8 (e) Open NW
MS Yazoo NWR 01/12/10-01/19/10 Lesser Snow Goose, Mallard, Ruddy Duck, Ross' Goose, Common Moorhen 35 (e) Aflatoxicosis NW
MT West Riverside 01/12/10-**** Bighorn Sheep 60 Pneumonia MT
MT Schmitz Lake 03/01/10-04/01/10 Painted Turtle 600 (e) Emaciation, starvation suspect NW
MT Upper Rock Creek Area Herd 01/23/10-**** Bighorn Sheep 50 (e) Pneumonia MT
NE Clark WPA 03/07/10-03/11/10 Lesser Snow Goose, Ross' Goose, Cackling Goose, Redhead Duck, American Wigeon 57 (e) Avian cholera NW
NE Harvard WPA 03/02/10-03/05/10 Fathead Minnow, Bullhead, Plains Leopard Frog 450 (e) Open NW
NE Utica 03/10/10-03/14/10 Lesser Snow Goose, Canada Goose, Greater White-fronted Goose 220 (e) Aflatoxicosis suspect NW
NV East Humbolts Range 12/10/10-**** Bighorn Sheep 102 Pneumonia NV
OH Eaton 01/13/10-01/27/10 American Robin, Mourning Dove, European Starling 200 (e) Toxicosis suspect NON
OH Coshocton County 12/22/09-02/16/10 American Crow 50 (e) Viral Infection: Reo virus-like isolate NW
OH Youngstown 01/11/10-01/17/10 American Crow 60 (e) Viral Infection: Reo virus-like isolate NW
OK Sequoyah NWR 12/04/09-01/20/10 Lesser Snow Goose, Ross' Goose, Mallard 35 (e) Aflatoxicosis NW
ON* Petersboro and Hastings Counties 03/03/10-**** Little Brown Bat, Northern Long-eared Bat 100 (e) Fungal Infection: white-nose syndrome CCW, NW
ON* Timiskaming District 01/15/10-**** Little Brown Bat, Northern Long-eared Bat 100 (e) Fungal Infection: white-nose syndrome CCW, NW
OR Multiple Coastal Counties, Oregon and California 01/15/10-02/15/10 California Brown Pelican 1,500 (e) Starvation CFG, NW, OSR, SWD
OR Staats Lake 03/24/10-03/30/10 Cackling Goose, Mallard 6 Undetermined NW
OR Summer Lake WMA 02/24/10-03/15/10 Lesser Snow Goose, Northern Pintail 5 (e) Avian cholera NW
PA Blair County 2/9/10-**** Bat, NOS 50 (e) Fungal Infection: white-nose, syndrome presumptive NON
PA Huntingdon County 01/27/10-**** Bat, NOS 3,000 (e) Fungal Infection: white-nose, syndrome presumptive NON
TX Lubbock County 01/07/10-01/20/10 Boat-tailed Grackle, Canada Goose 21 (e) Trauma suspect NW
TX Seabrook 01/03/10-01/22/10 Brown Pelican, NOS 15 Emaciation NW
UT Goslin Mountain Sheep Herd 02/01/10-**** Bighorn Sheep 26 Pneumonia UT
VA Centreville 03/02/10-03/09/10 Canada Goose 8 (e) Lead poisoning NW
VT Lamoille County 02/05/10-05/30/10 Little Brown Bat 200 (e) Fungal Infection: white-nose, syndrome presumptive NW
WA Trout Lake 02/20/10-03/20/10 Red Crossbill 10 Trauma NW
WI Upper MS River NWFR 03/24/10-04/29/10 Lesser Scaup, American Coot, Ruddy Duck, Common Goldeneye 778 Parasitism suspect NW
WI La Crosse County 02/23/10-03/13/10 Mallard 32 (e) Open NW
Updates and Corrections:
Location Dates Species Mortality Diagnosis Reported
NY Suffolk County, Multiple sites 01/28/08-05/05/08 Southern Leopard Frog 180 (e) Fungal Infection: Chytrid, Viral Infection: Ranavirus, Parasitism: Perkinsus-like organism, Trauma NW

(e) = estimate, * Canadian Province, **** Cessation date not available at this time.

Suspect diagnosis = diagnosis is not finalized, but field signs and historic patterns indicate the disease.

Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre (CCW), Disease Laboratory of the California Fish & Game (CFG), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FL), Kissimmee Diagnostic Laboratory (KDL), Idaho Wildlife Health Laboratory (ID), Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Diagnostic Lab (MT), No diagnostics pursued (NON), USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NW), Oil Spill Response Team (OSR), Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCW), Sea World of San Diego (SWD), Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UT).

Written and compiled by: Anne Ballmann - Eastern US, LeAnn White \96 Central US, Krysten Schuler - Western US, Jennifer Buckner \96 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

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

Dr. Krysten Schuler
Wildlife Disease Specialist
Phone: (608) 270-2447
Fax: (608) 270-2415
Email: kschuler@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

Quarterly Mortality Reports

California brown pelican mortality along the Pacific Coast (California, Oregon)

For the second consecutive winter, California brown pelicans were stranded along the Pacific coast. Reports of adult and juvenile pelicans being found in unusual places, emaciated, and weak were made along the western coast from southern California to northern Oregon. Rehabilitation centers, such as the International Bird Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in San Pedro, have had several hundred pelicans under their care. A multi-agency effort to examine the causes of morbidity and mortality included California Department of Fish and Game, Sea World – San Diego, USGS-National Wildlife Health Center, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Preliminary diagnosis was emaciation due to food shortages of fish, such as anchovies and sardines, coupled with harsh winter weather. No infectious pathogens have been identified. The feathers of some affected birds were reported to have loss of waterproofing and research is ongoing to determine the cause of the soiled feathers.

Ocean conditions and marine fisheries can be significantly impacted by climate phenomenon such as El Niño events. The recent El Niño may have contributed to the reduction in forage fish and increased severity and number of winter storms observed along the western coast of the U.S. In 2009, pelicans remained in their northern range in Oregon during freezing temperatures, resulting in emaciated and frostbitten birds arriving in southern California. The California brown pelican was recently removed from the federal endangered species list because population levels had recovered.

Lead toxicosis in geese (Louisiana)

In February 2010, the USGS-National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) was contacted about a large avian mortality event, occurring in Vermillion Parish, Louisiana involving several hundred snow geese. The cause of death was suspected to be aflatoxicosis or avian cholera due to the species involved, the time of year, and recent diagnosis of these diseases in other nearby locations in Louisiana. However, field necropsies identified the presence of lead shot in the gizzards of some birds. The submitter from Louisiana was unaware of any recent reports of avian mortalities associated with lead poisoning in this area and NWHC’s only record for avian lead poisoning in Vermillion Parish was from the 1930’s. As a result, NWHC, in partnership with local U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, conducted a field investigation to determine the extent of the mortality, species involved, and primary cause of death. When the die-off ended in late February 2010, total mortality was estimated to be approximately 600 geese, consisting primarily of snow geese and a few white-fronted geese. The primary cause of death for this mortality event was determined to be lead poisoning. NWHC is continuing to work with interested parties on potential management recommendations. The use of lead shot for hunting waterfowl was banned in 1991 in the U.S.; however, there have been at least thirteen large-scale mortality events involving several hundred to thousands of birds due to lead toxicosis since the ban. Continued exposure to lead may occur in areas that have high densities of lead pellets in the soil and sediment, such as lands heavily hunted with lead and target and skeet ranges that allow lead ammunition. NWHC recently produced a fact sheet on lead toxicosis that can be downloaded here.

Pneumonia outbreaks in bighorn sheep across western states (Montana, Washington, Utah, Nevada)

Multiple herds of bighorn sheep in several states experienced mortality from pneumonia outbreaks during winter 2009-2010. Montana was the first to observe mortality in mid-November and at least four herds were affected from three different counties. Washington was next to report sick sheep in the Yakima River Canyon, primarily on the west side of the river. Sick sheep were observed coughing and had difficulty moving. Nevada also experienced mortality in two distinct herds, reported in mid-December. Utah had an outbreak in February where they eliminated a small herd to prevent transmission to a larger group nearby. Management activities this year included culling sick sheep to control outbreaks and prevent transmission to nearby herds and treatment with antibiotics. Pneumonia in bighorn sheep is often fatal and affects all age groups. Preliminary disease mortality estimates range from 50-80% of individuals within affected herds. The potential exists for surviving bighorn sheep to serve as carriers, and populations that experience outbreaks subsequently have low recruitment of lambs, as reported by South Dakota’s Custer State Park. A variety of bacterial pathogens have previously been identified in the pneumonia-complex, including Mycoplasma spp., Pasturella multocida, Pasturella trehalosi, and Mannheimia haemolytica, in addition to respiratory viruses and lungworm infections. Pneumonia is a challenging issue for bighorn sheep managers because of the difficulty associated with identifying the disease agent, remote locations, and limited management options. This year was unique because of the large number of outbreaks and few indications of a potential source or cause. Further investigations are in progress. Further information is provided by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Wild Sheep Working Group Summary: Winter 2009-2010 Bighorn Sheep Die-offs (3/16/10) or http://www.wafwa.org/html/wswg.shtml.

White-nose syndrome range expansion in Winter 2009/2010. White-nose syndrome (WNS), a fungal infection of the skin in hibernating bats associated with unprecedented winter mortality in North American bat populations, was confirmed histologically on bats in two new states (Maryland, Tennessee) and two Canadian provinces (Ontario, Quebec) this past winter season. Affected states now total eleven since the disease was first recognized near Albany, New York, in Winter 2007/2008, with more than 60 sites involved. Clinical signs of disease continue to occur at confirmed hibernacula in subsequent seasons. In addition, the genetic signature of Geomyces destructans, the presumptive causative agent of WNS, has recently been identified on three new Myotis species (M. grisescens, M. velifer, and M. austroriparius) in Missouri, Oklahoma and Virginia, respectively, as well as on female little brown bats arriving at two separate maternity colonies in New Castle County, Delaware, in early May. Little to no mortality has been reported associated with this apparent westward expansion of the fungus and it remains to be seen if WNS will develop and manifest similarly in warmer, drier climate zones. Current estimates of bat population declines since the emergence of WNS are as high as 97% in some areas. The USGS National Wildlife Health Center, along with many partners, continues to play a primary role in WNS research. Further information on new developments related to WNS and other wildlife health related issues appear in the Wildlife Health Bulletins.

Request for Wildlife Mortality and Morbidity Event Reporting (All States)

The USGS-National Wildlife Health Center Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report, published in the Wildlife Disease Association’s newsletter, is intended to inform wildlife professionals of wildlife events of interest. The authors kindly request that investigation reports of recent die-offs of mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles be submitted for inclusion in this report. Credit will be given to appropriate diagnostic laboratories. The report can also be found online at http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/mortality_events/ongoing.jsp.

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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