News and Alerts


Chronic Wasting Disease—August 1, 2019

From Patricia Thompson, WDFW Rehabilitation Program Manager

This article is to alert you to the detection of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) close to the Montana/Idaho panhandle boarder.  As cooperators in wildlife disease surveillance, please be diligent about keeping eyes open for signs of this disease.  It has not been detected in Washington as of yet and we included some prevention strategies within the Wildlife Rehabilitation WACs to at least attempt to keep it out of our state. 

Please see WDFW Chronic Wasting Disease page for more information on CWD.


West Nile Virus in Washington—April 23, 2019

From Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

First western long-eared bat with white-nose syndrome found in Washington 

OLYMPIA – White-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that affects hibernating bats, has been confirmed for the first time in a western long-eared bat (Myotis evotis) in King County, Washington. This brings the total number of bat species confirmed with the deadly fungal disease in North America to 12. 

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) received the dead bat in early March from wildlife rehabilitator, Barbara Ogaard, who specializes in rescuing bats in the Seattle area. Samples were sent to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, WI for testing, where it was confirmed the bat had white-nose syndrome. 

"Confirming another species with white-nose syndrome is concerning, but something we've anticipated," said Abby Tobin, white-nose syndrome coordinator for WDFW. "We are grateful for the public's involvement in reporting sick or dead bats, as it helps us monitor bat populations and track the spread of this catastrophic disease in Washington." 

White-nose syndrome has also been confirmed for the first time in Washington outside of King County. In early March, a Pierce County resident found a dead little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) on a window and reported it to WDFW. After sending the bat to USGS National Wildlife Health Center for testing, it was confirmed the bat had white-nose syndrome. 

First seen in North America in 2006 in eastern New York, white-nose syndrome has killed millions of hibernating bats in eastern North America and has now spread to 33 states and seven Canadian provinces. See a map of the spread of white-nose syndrome at  

The disease is caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which invades hibernating bats' skin and causes damage, especially to delicate wing tissue, and physiologic imbalances that can lead to disturbed hibernation, depleted fat reserves, dehydration, and death. 

The fungal disease is not known to pose a threat to humans, pets, livestock, or other wildlife. 

Even though the fungus is believed to be primarily transferred from bat-to-bat contact, the fungus can be inadvertently spread by humans. People can carry fungal spores on clothing, shoes, or recreation equipment that comes into contact with the fungus. 

White-nose syndrome was first confirmed in Washington in March 2016. Over the last three years, WDFW has collaborated with partners to collect samples from bats and the areas where they live. This proactive surveillance work has helped WDFW detect the presence of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in a variety of locations in King and Lewis counties, including Mount Rainier National Park, and now, in Pierce County. For more information on these detections visit

King County is the most affected area in Washington with 29 of the 30 confirmed cases of white-nose syndrome in three bat species. A timeline of fungus and white-nose syndrome detections in Washington is available online at  

Washington state has 14 species of bats that benefit humans by consuming large quantities of insects that can impact forest health and commercial crops. 

WDFW advises against handling animals that appear sick or are found dead. If you find sick or dead bats or notice bats exhibiting unusual behavior such as flying outside during the day or during freezing weather, please report your observation online at

To learn more about the disease and access the most updated decontamination protocols and other guidance documents, visit

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

Abby Tobin, White-nose Syndrome Coordinator (WDFW), 360-902-2523
Rachel Blomker, Communications Manager (WDFW), 360-902-2236
Catherine Hibbard, White-nose Syndrome Coordinator (USFWS), 413-531-4276

Virulent Newcastle Disease—January 8, 2019

From ZAHP (Zoos and Aquariums All Hazard Preparedness, Response and Recovery) Fusion Center

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the detection of Virulent Newcastle Disease (VND) in a commercial layer flock in Riverside County, California.  This is a continuation of the outbreak that started in southern California in May of 2018. View the full announcement from USDA here

About VND

Virulent Newcastle Disease is not a food safety concern so properly cooked poultry products are safe to eat. In very rare instances, people working directly with sick birds can become infected. Symptoms are usually very mild, and limited to conjunctivitis and/or influenza-like symptoms. Infection is easily prevented by using standard personal protective equipment.

According to Dr. Jonathan Sleeman of the National Wildlife Health Center, the strain currently circulating in southern California is distinct from strains identified earlier in cormorants in the Great Lakes, and the strain affecting rock doves in Texas (for additional information click here.) 

To our knowledge, this California strain has not been detected in birds other than poultry, but it is unknown how timely the sharing of surveillance information will be with the current government shutdown. This virus is highly adapted to gallinaceous birds. It is not known if gallinaceous birds other than chickens are equally affected. This could impact gallinaceous birds in breeding and exhibition settings. 

What this means for our community

Exhibitors, bird breeders and owners should carefully examine their biosecurity protocols, and heightened biosecurity measures may be appropriate. Guidance on biosecurity for VND can be found on the California Department of Agriculture’s website. Additional information on biosecurity for all poultry flocks can be found on USDA’s Defend the Flock Resource Center

Since the spread of this virus from one facility to another is still under investigation, you must consider multiple possible routes of infection. It is very important to ensure that any of your staff or volunteers monitor the health of their own birds, and report sick or dead birds promptly: 

State Bird Hotline 1-866-922-2473

USDA toll free number 1-866-536-7593

Additional background provided by USDA email

Virulent Newcastle Disease is a contagious and fatal viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds and poultry. The disease is so virulent that many birds and poultry die without showing any clinical signs. A death rate of almost 100 percent can occur in unvaccinated poultry flocks. Virulent Newcastle Disease can infect and cause death even in vaccinated poultry.

Clinical signs of Virulent Newcastle Disease include: sudden death and increased death loss in the flock; sneezing; gasping for air; nasal discharge; coughing; greenish, watery diarrhea; decreased activity; tremors; drooping wings; twisting of the head and neck; circling; complete stiffness; and swelling around the eyes and neck.

WDFW Wildlife Rehabilitation Rules Revision—December 5, 2018

Wildlife in Captivity and Wildlife Rehabilitation 
The department is considering rule changes for wildlife rehabilitation.

CR-102 – filed as WSR 18-24-091 on December 3, 2018
Invitation to discuss rules on this subject

Winter 2018/2019 Bat Submission Guidelines & Updates from the 2017/2018 White-Nose Syndrome Surveillance Season—November 29, 2018 

From Dr. Jonathan Sleeman, Center Director, USGS National Wildlife Health Center

Updated guidance from the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) is now available for bat submissions for the 2018/2019 white-nose syndrome (WNS) surveillance season. These guidelines are posted on the updated NWHC WNS web page and replace all previous NWHC bat submission criteria. Included are reference charts and an updated WNS Management Area map to assist submitters in identifying priority species and collecting appropriate samples for submission to a diagnostic laboratory. These guidelines support surveillance objectives of the WNS National Plan designed to identify new geographic locations and bat species impacted by Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd) and WNS. 

National Wildlife Health Center Wildlife Health Bulletin 2018-06 

WDFW FY 2019-2021 Applications are now open—November 27, 2018

From Patricia Thompson, WDFW Rehabilitation Program Manager

FY 2019-2021 Application Guidelines and Grant Application, and a current per diem map to calculate travel expenses are available on the WDFW website at

The deadline for grant application submittal is February 1, 2019.

The total amount of grant funding is estimated at $150,000.00 for the biennium but depends on the availability of Personalized License Plate funds and upon the Legislature and Governor’s Office budget actions for the 2019-2021 biennial budget.  

Project SNOWstorm—October 27, 2018

From Erica Miller, DVM

For the past 5 winters, a group of scientists has been collecting information on Snowy Owls as they migrate into the lower 48 states. Project SNOWstorm ( welcomes contributions from rehabilitators who may be receiving snowy owls this winter. We are specifically seeking blood samples and measurements from live birds, and intact cadavers from birds that are found dead, die in care, or are euthanized. Please see the attached documents (Project SNOWstorm Sampling Protocol & Labeling and Packing Carcasses) for further information on the samples needed and instructions for submitting them to Project SNOWstorm. 

Dead and Dying Crows—August 23, 2018

From Patricia Thompson, WDFW Rehabilitation Program Manager

The WDFW has received an increased number of reports of deceased crows this summer from the west side of the state.  Three of these crows were sent to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC), and two to the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (WADDL), where necropsy findings were consistent with crow reovirus. These findings were confirmed via PCR this week (see attached report). This is apparently a highly infectious disease. Note that all of the crows tested to date have been negative for West Nile Virus.

WDFW Recommendation

Euthanize all sick crows that enter your facility

NWHC Request for Carcasses 

The NWHC would like more fresh carcasses from over a larger area of western Washington to test for this virus. If possible, please collect and freeze freshly deceased/euthanized crows for future pick up by WDFW staff. Please inform Dr. Kristin Mansfield ( of any fresh carcasses that you are able to freeze. Note that we have already confirmed this disease in Auburn and in Bothell, so don’t need any additional carcasses from these areas. Carcasses from outside of King and Snohomish counties are being sought at this time. This would be valuable to the WDFW and to NWHC to help us better understand the geographical extent of this disease.