Bird and Marine Mammal Emerging Zoonoses

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Gulls and seals at Jeremy Point, Wellfleet, MA (Andrea Bogomolni)

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Seals at Jeremy Point, Wellfleet, MA (Andrea Bogomolni)

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Project Description

Marine animals are major potential oceanic vectors and victims of zoonotic diseases.  Fish and shellfish are directly consumed by humans, while marine mammals and seabirds prey or scavenge on fish.  Marine mammals and birds often haul out, strand or land on the same beaches that humans recreate upon.  Coastal birds such as gulls routinely mix with humans in recreational settings, and forage at human solid and liquid waste facilities.  Humans encounter these animals as processors and consumers of seafood, and as bird and marine animal rehabilitators.  There has been an inadequate knowledge of the prevalence of zoonotic agents in the marine vertebrates of the North East United States.  In this project, we focus on surveillance of marine mammals and gulls of New England by screening for the presence of influenza, Brucella, Leptospira, Giardia and Cryptosporidium in fecal, serum and tissue samples collected from live, bycaught and stranded animals.


Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
    Dr. Michael Moore (lead PI)
    Dr. Rebecca Gast
    Andrea Bogomolni
    Mark Dennett

Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine Wildlife Clinic
    Dr. Mark Pokras
    Dr. Julie Ellis

Cape Cod Stranding Network
    Kathleen Touhey

NOAA Fisheries Protected Species Branch and Sampling (Observer) Branch NEFSC

New England Aquarium


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Last updated July 27, 2007
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