European Wildlife Disease Association
The EWDA is a partner organization of the WDA

The European Wildlife Disease Association (EWDA) seeks to provide a forum for the exchange of information on wildlife diseases and their management. Through the provision of opportunities for networking, collaborative research and training we seek to raise the profile of wildlife disease research and management. 


Latest News

  • Call for applications for the PhD Program in Conservation Medicine  of the Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile will be open from October 1st to November 27th. More info can be found here.

  • SAVE THE DATE! The 12th EWDA CONFERENCE will be held from August 29th until September 2nd in Berlin, Germany. More information can be found here.

  • The latest EWDA newsletter (Winter 2015), put together by our new editorial team, Lidewij Wiersma and Paul Duff, is available.



    9:14am EST; PARIS, Dec 3 (Reuters) - More money needs to be spent on detecting disease in domestic and wild animals, an intergovernmental group said on Wednesday, following a series of bird flu outbreaks and previous mutations of animal viruses into ones that can be passed between humans. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said governments had cut funding after previous health crises had abated, and needed to reconsider that decision in that light of recent outbreaks.


    "Resources have been affected to other priorities. We must come back to appropriate levels to have an early detection of cases," OIE Director General Bernard Vallat told Reuters. Vallat said animal producers, hunters, anglers and other users of the natural environment were also key players in early detection of viruses with whom it was important to cooperate.


    Germany, the Netherlands and Britain have reported cases in recent weeks of the highly pathogenic bird flu virus H5N8, which is similar to one found in Asia earlier this year that led in South Korea to a massive culling of poultry flocks. Canada said on Tuesday bird flu had killed thousands of turkeys and chickens in the province of British Columbia. That virus type was identified as H5 but the precise variant remained unclear.


    The H5N8 strain - as opposed to the H5N1 strain that sparked a health crisis a few years ago -- has never been detected in humans. But the Paris-based OIE warned influenza viruses could mutate, giving Ebola as an example. Ebola was initially transmitted to humans by a wild animal before turning into a human-to-human pandemic, Vallat said. The disease had killed over 6,000 people worldwide by the end of last month, data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show.


    "All influenza viruses can mutate," Vallat said. "We need to be vigilant on the ground to quickly detect bird flu cases and avoid a spread of the virus ... and we need to monitor in labs any genetic change that could be worrying for humans."


    The OIE said 75 percent of new human diseases were derived from pathogens transmitted by animals, whether domestic or wild.

     (Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Additional reporting by Tom Miles in Geneva; Editing by Mark Potter)

  • EWDA statement: rapid intensification of wild bird surveillance in Europe needed in response to recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N8.

In November 2014, highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) H5N8 was detected within a period of just a few weeks on poultry farms in Germany, The Netherlands, and the U.K. In the same period, HPAIV H5N8 was reported in apparently healthy wild birds on both sides of the Eurasian continent: in Bewick's (or tundra) swans (Cygnus colombianus) and unspecified waterbirds (Anatidae) in Japan, and in a Eurasian teal (Anas crecca) in Germany. Preliminary phylogenetic analysis of the virus isolates from these different geographic locations indicates that they are closely related, and belong to the clade This suggests that wild waterbirds may well have a role in the spread of HPAIV H5N8. Of course, incursion of HPAIV H5N8 also may occur via other routes, such as movement of poultry, poultry products, and contaminated vehicles, equipment or personnel. Only by combined attention to all possible routes can the incursion of HPAIV H5N8 be prevented. Adequate surveillance of wild waterbirds in Europe, in collaboration with responsible national authorities, is therefore critical as part of an early warning system for the incursion of this pathogen. Influenza surveillance of wild waterbirds has decreased by an average of 90% in the EU since 2007/2008; rapid intensification of this surveillance is now needed. Surveillance should include both wild birds that are apparently healthy and those have been found dead. This surveillance should be conducted by existing wildlife health surveillance networks as much as possible rather than establishing parallel networks that will break down again after this emergency is over. This is the only way to build up a long-term wildlife health surveillance network in Europe.

  • Presentations from the Workshop on African Swine Fever on Wild Boar that was held from 6 to 7 March 2014 at Uppsala, Sweden. It was organized in response to the recent incursion of African swine fever (ASF) into the European Union, namely in Lithuania and Poland. The organizers were the Wildlife Disease Association (European and Nordic sections) together with the Swedish National Veterinary Institute (SVA). Despite the short notice, over 80 people from 17 European countries participated in the workshop. The expertise of the participants ranged from virology, pathology, and epidemiology to wildlife ecology, wildlife health, vaccinology, and mathematical modelling.
    The particiapants represented veterinary institutes, reference laboratories for ASF, animal health authorities, food safety authorities, wildlife health centres, and universities at the national level, as well as the European Commission (DG-SANCO and EFSA) and the OIE (ASF reference laboratory, Wildlife Health Working Group) at the international level. As well, hunters' associations, the food industry, the livestock industry, vaccine manufacturers, and private veterinary practitioners were represented. Available here.

    • The Wildlife Data Integration Network, a program at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine is working on a cooperative agreement with the USFWS Avian Health and Disease Program in the Southeast Region. As part of their agreement, they are reaching out to the wildlife community to try to make people aware of the Wildlife Health Event Reporter (WHER), www.wher.org, a publicly available wildlife health surveillance and communication tool. Learn more about the WHER in this document.

    • The book Infectious Diseases of Wild Mammals and Birds in Europe, edited by Dolores Gavier-Widen, Anna Meredith and Paul Duff and published by Wiley, is now available. From the website of the publisher: "Infectious Diseases of Wild Mammals and Birds in Europe" is a key resource on the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases in European wildlife that covers the distinctive nature of diseases as they occur in Europe, including strains, insect vectors, reservoir species, and climate, as well as geographical distribution of the diseases and European regulations for reporting, diagnosis and control. Divided into sections on viral infections, bacterial infections, fungal and yeast infections, and prion infections, this definitive reference provides valuable information on disease classification and properties, causative agents, epidemiology, pathogenesis, and implications for human, domestic and wild animal health. 
     • Brings together extensive research from many different disciplines into one integrated and highly 
    useful definitive reference.
     • Zoonotic risks to human health, as well as risks to pets and livestock are highlighted
     • Each disease is covered separately with practical information on the animal species in which the disease has been recorded, clinical signs of the disease, diagnostic methods, and recommended treatments and vaccination.
     • Wildlife vaccination and disease surveillance techniques are described.
     • Examines factors important in the spread of disease such as changing climate, the movement of animals through trade, and relaxations in the control of wide animal populations.
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