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Map Layer Info

Wildlife Mortality Information - Avian Botulism

What this map layer shows:

The number of bird deaths due to botulism, when each outbreak occurred, and the top five species affected, by county.

opens the U.S. Geological Survey home page
Background Information
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Avian botulism, or Western duck sickness, is a paralytic disease caused by ingestion of a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. This bacteria is widespread in soil and requires warm temperatures, a protein source, and an anaerobic (no oxygen) environment in order to become active and produce toxin. Decomposing vegetation and invertebrates combined with warm temperatures can provide ideal conditions for the botulism bacteria to activate and produce toxin. A wide variety of birds and some species of mammals are susceptible to the disease. This map layer portrays the incidence of avian botulism in the United States. It was produced by the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC), which was established to address the health and disease issues of free-ranging wildlife. The center collects information on wildlife mortality events such as those caused by avian botulism, assesses the impact of disease on wildlife, identifies the role of various pathogens in contributing to wildlife losses, and works to develop effective disease prevention and control strategies. The avian botulism information was extracted from NWHC's EPIZOO database, which is a long-term record of more than 25 years of information on epizootics (epidemics) in wildlife. EPIZOO tracks die-offs throughout the United States and its territories, primarily in migratory birds and endangered species.

The Wildlife Mortality Information – Avian Botulism database shows county-level information on avian botulism events in the United States, including the dates of each event, the five top species involved, and the number of deaths. Also available in the National Atlas are databases describing mortality events due to avian cholera, avian lead poisoning, and organophosphate/carbamate poisoning, as well as a database with county-level counts of wildlife mortality events. More detailed information on avian botulism and other disease epidemics in wildlife is available from the NWHC Disease Information page, and from the Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases.

Related Links:

If you download the data for Wildlife Mortality Information – Avian Botulism, you may also want to download the Wildlife Mortality Information – Frequency and the 2001 County Boundaries data. The Wildlife Mortality frequency information and the County Boundaries map layers can be used together to create a map of wildlife mortality that is similar to the map in the Map Maker. The Avian Botulism map layer provides additional information about specific events.
Download Wildlife Mortality Information – Frequency Data
Download 2001 County Boundaries


Map Maker Sample
Wildlife Mortality – Avian Botulism