August 4, 2011


Correction: On Tuesday, 8/2, the story ‘West Nile found in crow’ (found here) was posted to the Wildlife Disease News Digest and mapped to the Global Wildlife Disease News Map. The location was mistakenly mapped to London, England. The correct location is London, Ontario, Canada. The Digest team apologizes for any confusion this mistake may have caused.

The WDIN Team

Parasite Creating Deformed Frogs in Western U.S.

A flatworm parasite called Ribeiroia ondatrae infects several species of frogs just as they're developing their limbs, causing an assortment of defects such as no legs or even multiple legs that jut out at weird angles from the frogs' bodies scientists say. The deformed frogs are often unable to move and either die or quickly get eaten by predators.

Scientists already knew that the parasite was the culprit in the frog malformations, but the researchers wanted to find out whether known hot spots of Ribeiroia populations in four western states had changed since they were last surveyed in 1999. So in 2010 Pieter Johnson, an ecologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and colleagues gathered data on frogs and parasites in 48 wetlands in California, Oregon, Washington, and Montana.

The scientists found that the parasite infections were still pervasive in amphibians at the study sites. "We found that, although the distribution of Ribeiroia across wetlands changed, there was little net effect on overall parasite prevalence, with 31 percent of wetlands gaining the parasite and 27 percent losing the parasite," according to the study. But "what was most intriguing," Johnson said, "was that the locations of hot spots had changed substantially over the last decade."

National Geographic -
03 Aug 2011
C Dell'Amore


New outbreak of deadly squirrel pox hits Lancashire

Lancashire Wildlife Trust is urging the public to be vigilant after the deadly squirrel pox virus returned to the red squirrel stronghold on the Sefton coast. Red squirrel conservation experts have made the call after the body of a red squirrel was found on Mossgiel Avenue in Ainsdale, Merseyside. Expert analysis carried out at the University of Liverpool has confirmed that the animal died of squirrel pox virus.

The discovery is a blow to efforts to help the population of red squirrels in Ainsdale and Formby recover after it was ravaged by the pox virus three years ago. The Wildlife Trust's Conservation Officer for North Merseyside, Fiona Whitfield said: ‘This is the first case in 18 months and we're particularly concerned because it is very close to where the first outbreak occurred.

...The last bout of squirrel pox decimated the population which has clung on in the woods and gardens behind the sand dunes in the area - numbers crashed by 90 per cent. But the squirrels have since staged a remarkable recovery. Densities of reds look set to approach their pre-epidemic values within the next year or so, and there have been reports of reds spreading into the surrounding woods and countryside.

Wildlife Extra -
02 Aug 2011
Location: Ainsdale, Sefton, United Kingdom - Map It


UK garden birds hit by avian pox virus

Conservationists are calling on the public to help efforts to track the spread of a bird disease that has taken hold in garden birds in recent years, with great tits particularly badly hit by the lesions it causes.

In 2006, scientists confirmed the first case of avian pox in a British great tit – before then, the virus had been confined to birds in Scandanavia, Austria, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Last year, the pox virus reached Wytham Woods in Oxfordshire, which contains a population of great tits that have been monitored by scientists since 1947, the longest running study of its kind in the world.

"We were very concerned when we first detected this disease," said Ben Sheldon of the Edward Grey Institute at the University of Oxford. "We're using our detailed observations to try to understand how this new form of pox affects survival and reproductive success."

Avian pox leads to warty, tumour-like growths on birds, particularly around the eyes and beak. It is known to have mild effects on a wide range of British birds such as the dunnock, house sparrow, starling and the wood pigeon. But things are worse for great tits.

The Guardian -
03 Aug 2011
A Jha


Reported Wildlife Mortality Events to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center Updated

USGS and a network of partners across the country work on documenting wildlife mortality events in order to provide timely and accurate information on locations, species and causes of death.

This information was updated on Jul 29, 2011 on the USGS National Wildlife Health Center web page, New and Ongoing Wildlife Mortality Events Nationwide.

Quarterly Mortality Reports are also available from this page. These reports go back to 1995.

USGS National Wildlife Health Center
30 Jul 2011
Area: United States

>>>Updated Wildlife Mortality Event Table

West Nile Virus
Huh?! That's Interesting