Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mysterious Brain Disease Killing American Bald Eagles And Coots May Be Spreading

Date:
December 19, 1997
Source:
United States Geological Survey
Summary:
A mysterious disease that has killed bald eagles and American coots in southwest Arkansas may now be present in two other states, according to wildlife disease specialists at the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

A small number of coot deaths in North Carolina and Georgia have been linked to this disease, which affects the brain and central nervous system by creating holes in the myelin layers that insulate the nerve bundles. According to the Center's veterinary pathologist Dr. Nancy Thomas, "Myelin coats the nerve bundles much like the plastic coating around electrical wire, and when the coating is damaged it can short- circuit the nervous system."

In the winters of 1994 and 1996, this disease killed at least 55 bald eagles at three lakes in southwestern Arkansas, along with an unknown number of coots. No other birds or mammals have been found to be affected.

Despite the exhaustive efforts of federal, state and private-sector scientists, the cause or source of the disease remains a mystery, said Dr. Kimberli Miller, a wildlife disease specialist at the Center. Other disease agents known to affect birds, including bacteria, viruses or parasites, have been ruled out, and while microscopic evidence suggests that a neurotoxin may be the cause, tests for natural and man-made toxins that can cause this type of disease have so far been negative. Miller said that field investigations led by the USGS Center are under way, and scientists are hoping that clues from the new locations will help to reveal the cause of the disease.

Wildlife managers throughout the United States are being asked to observe coot populations for disoriented or uncoordinated behavior such as erratic flying or impaired ability to swim or dive. The public is urged to report observations of sick or dead eagles or coots to Dr. Kimberli Miller at the National Wildlife Health Center at 608-270-2448.

As the nation's largest natural resources science and mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with nearly 2000 organizations to provide reliable, impartial, scientific information to resource managers, planners and other customers. USGS hydrologists, geologists, biologists and cartographers work in every state to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to wise economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

United States Geological Survey. "Mysterious Brain Disease Killing American Bald Eagles And Coots May Be Spreading." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/12/971219062649.htm>.
United States Geological Survey. (1997, December 19). Mysterious Brain Disease Killing American Bald Eagles And Coots May Be Spreading. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/12/971219062649.htm
United States Geological Survey. "Mysterious Brain Disease Killing American Bald Eagles And Coots May Be Spreading." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/12/971219062649.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins