Utilizing hunter harvest effort to survey for wildlife disease: a case study of West Nile virus in greater sage-grouse

Wildlife Society Bulletin
By: , and 

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Abstract

Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; sage-grouse) are highly susceptible to infection with West Nile virus (WNV), with substantial mortality reported in wild populations and in experimentally infected birds. Although sage-grouse are hunted throughout much of their range, they have also recently been considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act. We used blood samples collected on filter-paper strips during the 2006–2010 Oregon, USA, annual sage-grouse hunt to survey for specific WNV-neutralizing antibodies that indicate a previous infection with WNV. During this period, hunters submitted 1,880 blood samples from sage-grouse they harvested. Samples obtained were proportional for all 12 Oregon sage-grouse hunting units. Laboratory testing of 1,839 samples by the WNV epitope-blocking enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (bELISA) followed by plaque reduction neutralization test on bELISA-positive samples yielded 19 (1%) and 1 (0.05%) positive samples, respectively. These data provided early baseline information for future comparisons regarding the prevalence of WNV-specific neutralizing antibodies in sage-grouse in Oregon. This methodology may provide other states where sage-grouse (or other species) populations are hunted and where WNV constitutes a species conservation concern with a viable option to track the relative prevalence of the virus in populations.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Utilizing hunter harvest effort to survey for wildlife disease: a case study of West Nile virus in greater sage-grouse
Series title Wildlife Society Bulletin
DOI 10.1002/wsb.472
Volume 38
Issue 4
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Contaminant Biology Program, National Wildlife Health Center
Description 7 p.
First page 721
Last page 727
Time Range Start 2006-01-01
Time Range End 2010-12-31
Country United States
State Oregon
County Baker, Crook ,Deschutes, Lake, Harney, Malheur
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N