January 28, 2011

In the Spotlight: Recent Recent Disease Investigation from USGS National Wildlife Health Center

From the Latest USGS National Wildlife Health Center Quarterly Wildlife Mortality Report - July 2010 to September 2010

Virulent Newcastle Disease Virus in Double-Crested Cormorants (Maryland, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin)

Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Beginning in July 2010, double-crested cormorants displaying neurological signs including lethargy, paralysis of the wings and legs, twisting of the neck, and/or erratic swimming were observed at nesting colonies located in Maryland, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Double-crested cormorants submitted to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center from these sites tested positive for virulent Newcastle Disease virus (NDV). Newcastle Disease virus belongs to the group of viruses known as avian paramyxovirus-1 (APMV-1).

This APMV-1 virus is often lethal to double-crested cormorants; it’s designation as virulent NDV indicates potential virulence to poultry. Additional mortalities at these sites included American white pelicans, ring-billed gulls, California gulls, and mallards; however, the cause of death in these species was attributed to other diseases including West Nile virus, salmonellosis, and aspergillosis.

For a summary of recent NDV mortality events involving wild birds and the geographic expansion in the eastern US, see the Sep 2010 [pdf] and Dec 2010 [pdf] Wildlife Health Bulletins. All Wildlife Health Bulletins can be found here at http://www.nwhc.usgs.gov/publications/wildlife_health_bulletins/.

Source: USGS National Wildlife Health Center, Quarterly Mortality Reports

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