Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study



Date of this Version

July 2000


• CWD and Human Health: “There currently is no evidence that Chronic Wasting Disease in Cervidae is transmitted to humans”…
• SCWDS recently completed the fieldwork of a research project to investigate the epidemiology of avian vacuolar myelinopathy (AVM), previously known as the Avian Brain Lesion Syndrome (ABLS).
• NIH Funds SCWDS Ehrlichiosis Study: Since 1985, three new tickborne zoonoses caused by bacteria in the genus Ehrlichia have been recognized in the United States. Human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis (HME) caused by E. chaffeensis occurs across a broad area of the eastern and south-central United States. HME is transmitted by lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum). Human granulocytotropic ehrlichiosis (HGE) caused by a currently unnamed organism closely related to or perhaps identical with E. equi or E. phagocytophila has been diagnosed mainly in the northeastern, upper midwestern, and western United States. HGE is transmitted by black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapularis and I. pacificus). A combined total of over 1,200 cases of HME and HGE were diagnosed in people between 1986 and 1997. The third zoonotic ehrlichiosis, caused by E. ewingii, was diagnosed in four people from Missouri in 1999. Ehrlichia ewingii is known to occur in dogs in several other states in the eastern United States and is transmitted by lone star ticks.
• Bovine tuberculosis (TB) recently was found in an eighth domestic cattle herd in Michigan. All TB-positive cattle herds and the single hunting enclosure containing captive deer with TB were located in the northeastern portion of Michigan’s lower peninsula where TB is endemic in free-ranging deer.
• Lead Poisoning at a Shooting Range: In May 1999, a yellow-rumped warbler and a gray squirrel found at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynn County, Georgia, were submitted to SCWDS for diagnosis of central nervous system disease. Lead poisoning was diagnosed in both animals.
• SCWDS Research Coordinator Sam Linhart retired this June after 10 years with our organization.
• New AVMA Euthanasia Panel American Veterinary Medical Association

News from the WDA Conference -- the Annual Meeting of the Wildlife Disease Association:
Towerkills: Dr. Don Forrester, with the University of Florida, indicated that U.S. bird mortality due to tower collisions was estimated at 1 million birds in the 1980s and 2 to 4 million birds in the late 1990s.
• Bovine TB Transmission: A series of experiments conducted at the USDA's National Animal Disease Center supports the epidemiologic investigation of the bovine tuberculosis (TB) problem in Michigan whitetailed deer.
• Deer Adenovirus: Fatal systemic adenovirus was reported in a captive moose calf in Wyoming.
Mycoplasma gallisepticum Conjunctivitis: An outbreak of ocular disease was reported in evening grosbeaks and pine grosbeaks in Quebec, Canada.
• Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD): Sequential sacrifice of experimentally infected mule deer revealed that the CWD agent can be found in the cervical lymph nodes within 3 months, and it has reached the brain by 6 months.
• Recent SCWDS Publications Available