December 20, 2012

12 Days of WHER and the Wildlife Disease News Digest

Twelve Days of the Wildlife Health Event Reporter
Day 8: You’ve Put Off Your Holiday Shopping, but Hey, No Need to Delay Getting Your WHER Account! 

Figure 1: Screenhsot of the form for creating a
WHER account.  Required fields are limited to
name, username, email and password.
Unlike holiday shopping, signing up for a WHER account is easy and stress free! There are no crowds or long register lines. You won’t forget where you parked your car, or find the item you wanted is out of stock.

So where to start? Follow these simple steps and in about 2 – 5 minutes you’ll have your very own WHER account, and you can start helping researchers and wildlife biologists better understand wildlife disease. Get your WHER account now!
  1. Go to
  2. Enter the required fields and optional fields where you like. [See Figure 1]
  3. If you have been invited to join a specific volunteer group, then check the box next to the group name. If you're just joining as an individual, you can skip this step.
  4. Click the Save button to save your account details.
  5. Go check your email! You should receive an email from with a link to click to confirm your account.
Troubleshooting: If the confirmation email never arrives, email us at to help get your account activated. Sometimes your email spam folder routes important messages on accident; check in this folder if your email provider auto-filters your spam. 

Invite to Organizations to Create Your Own WHER Group Project 

Organizations are welcome to use WHER for their wildlife health monitoring projects. The benefit of having a project group created is that you can use WHER’s search feature to select only those reports linked to your project. When members of your group log into WHER, they would indicate that they are entering a report for your project. If desired, the WHER team can give you administrative rights to manage your group’s membership. Sound interesting? Want to learn more? Email us at

While you are procrastinating on that holiday shopping, go sign up for your WHER account and join the effort to spot wildlife health events in your community. 


Research: Wind’s contribution to Avian Influenza spread

Wind is estimated to contribute around 18% to the spread of Avian Influenza following an outbreak, a Dutch study to be published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases suggests.

...Dispersal of infectious material by wind has been suggested but never demonstrated as a possible cause of transmission between farms. Statistical evidence has been provided that the direction of spread of avian influenza A(H7N7) is correlated with the direction of wind at date of infection. Research was conducted by reconstructing the transmission tree for a large outbreak in the Netherlands in 2003 using detailed genetic and epidemiological data. It was conservatively estimated that the contribution of a possible wind-mediated mechanism to the total amount of spread during this outbreak could be around 18%.

World Poultry -
17 Dec 2012

More Avian Influenza News

Geographic complexity explains patterns of spread of white-nose syndrome in bats

The spread of white-nose syndrome, an emerging fungal disease in bats, may be determined by habitat and climate, scientists at the University of Georgia have found.

Using data about the spread of white-nose syndrome to date, postdoctoral researcher Sean P. Maher and colleagues at the Odum School of Ecology made a computer model showing that cave-hibernating species of bats in areas with cold winters are most vulnerable to the disease. Their study in Nature Communications finds simulations suggest that white-nose syndrome is likely to spread rapidly among vulnerable populations, reaching a peak in 2015-2016.

UGA Today -
18 Dec 2012
L King

A “Doomsday Virus” for Endangered Parrots?

Every time we test blood from new endangered parrot species with small, isolated wild populations, we find Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) virus, a particularly nasty airborne circovirus that destroys the skin and feathers while opening large, painful fissures in the beak that eventually breaks it apart. Cape parrots, black-cheeked lovebirds, Carnaby’s cockatoos, New Caledonian parakeets, Norfolk Island Green Parrot, red-fronted parakeets, swift parrot, orange-bellied parrot, and Echo parakeets are all endangered by catastrophic deforestation and/or widespread capture for the wild-caught bird trade, and ALL have high levels of PBFD virus in the wild population. Is this the “Doomsday Virus” for Endangered parrots?

Our research has demonstrated that PBFd is endemic to the wild Cape parrot population and thus should exist at low levels in the wild. Something has disturbed the balance… This poorly-known virus also attacks the immune system, opening the PBFD-positive parrot to bacterial infections like avian TB, Pseudomonassp., and pneumonia.

National Geographic -
18 Dec 2012
S Boyes

CDFG Wildlife Investigations Lab Blog
One Health News Corner
Huh?! That's Interesting!
It Ain't All Bad

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