Fish & Wildlife Disease


USGS is the lead Federal agency for wildlife disease research and surveillance. Our wildlife health capabilities provide research, information, and technical assistance needed to manage wildlife through disease events. Congress and our partners rely on our science to make informed decisions about fish and wildlife disease policy, planning and management.

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Bsal a Threat to Vulnerable Amphibian Hosts

Bsal a Threat to Vulnerable Amphibian Hosts

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) in Appalachia: Using Scenario Building to Proactively Prepare for a Wildlife Disease Outbreak Caused by an Invasive Amphibian Chytrid Fungus

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USGS Response to White-Nose Syndrome in Bats

USGS Response to White-Nose Syndrome in Bats

USGS science has been a critical part of understanding, and responding to, white-nose syndrome. Learn more about the USGS response in this new fact sheet.

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Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

The USGS is focused on the development of early detection and effective response tools that promote an adaptive management approach to CWD.

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Date published: September 30, 2021

Destructive Snake Disease Discovered in Museum Specimens

A recent study of museum snake specimens shows that snake fungal disease, a skin infection threatening many important snake populations, existed in the U.S. over 50 years earlier than previously thought. 

Date published: September 21, 2021

New Insight on the Potential for Blue-Winged Teal to Transfer Avian Influenza to Domestic Poultry

A first-of-its-kind study by the USGS and partners provides an initial analysis of when commercial chicken and turkey facilities in the U.S. are at greatest risk to avian influenza viruses from one species of migratory waterfowl. 

Date published: September 7, 2021

USGS Participates in USDA Highly Pathogenic (HP) Avian Influenza (AI) and Wild Birds Webinar Series

Several USGS scientists recently participated in a USDA Veterinary Services Training and Exercise Program (VSTEP) Webinar series on Highly Pathogenic (HP) Avian Influenza (AI) and Wild Birds.


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Year Published: 2021

Herring Disease Program - Annual Project Report 2012011-E, February 1, 2010-January 31, 2021

We will investigate fish health factors that may be contributing to the failed recovery of Pacific herring populations in Prince William Sound. Field samples will provide infection and disease prevalence data from Prince William Sound and Sitka Sound to inform the age structured assessment (ASA) model, serological data will indicate the prior...

Hershberger, Paul; Purcell, Maureen K.
Hershberger, P. and M. Purcell. 2021. Herring Disease Program - Annual Project Report 2012011-E, February 1, 2010-January 31, 2021. Program number 20120111-E. Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council, 26 p.

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Year Published: 2021

Temperature variation and host immunity regulate viral persistence in a salmonid host

Environmental variation has important effects on host–pathogen interactions, affecting large-scale ecological processes such as the severity and frequency of epidemics. However, less is known about how the environment interacts with host immunity to modulate virus fitness within hosts. Here, we studied the interaction between host immune responses...

Páez, David J.; Powers, Rachel L.; Jia, Peng; Ballesteros, Natalia; Kurath, Gael; Naish, Kerry A.; Purcell, Maureen K.

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Year Published: 2021

Long-term shedding from fully convalesced individuals indicates that Pacific herring are a reservoir for viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus

Processes that allow viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) virus to persist in the marine environment remain enigmatic, owing largely to the presence of covert and cryptic infections in marine fishes during typical sub-epizootic periods. As such, marine host reservoirs for VHS virus have not been fully demonstrated, nor have the mechanism(s) by which...

Hershberger, Paul; Mackenzie, Ashley; Gregg, Jacob L.; Wilmot, M. D.; Powers, Rachel L.; Purcell, Maureen K.