Date of this Version
Proceedings of the 14th WDM Conference (2012)
The National Wildlife Disease Program (NWDP), overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (WS), was established in 2003 to develop a nationally coordinated wildlife disease surveillance and emergency response system. Since its inception, the NWDP has developed collaborations with over 200 national and international partners. The national partners include state, tribal, federal, and private organizations. These partnerships have resulted in surveillance and management of over 100 pathogens, toxins, and disease syndromes affecting wildlife, domestic animals, and humans. Several of these pathogens, including avian influenza, plague, tularemia, bluetongue, and 10 pathogens carried by feral swine, are monitored on a national or regional scale. The NWDP maintains an archive of select wildlife disease samples. Archived samples are available to scientists at universities and other entities with approved research protocols. The NWDP also serves as Wildlife Services’ primary emergency response unit. The program’s wildlife disease biologists are trained as all-hazard first responders, and the national office coordinates training and mobilization of these and other personnel. Internationally, the NWDP has worked with over 30 countries, developing close relationships with many organizations. This paper provides an overview of the NWDP structure and its activities. Programmatic efforts to address highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 are presented as an example of a coordinated national response when a disease risk posed by wildlife presents a potential threat to agriculture or humans.