Miriam Schlessinger | Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), 2022

CHAMPAIGN, IL – Miriam, an undergraduate at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, shares her experiences as an intern during the summer of 2022 at the Wildlife Veterinary Epidemiology Lab – Prairie Research Institute (PRI).

Miriam prepping a tissue sample along mentor, Dr. Nohra Mateus-Pinilla.

“I think this internship will and already has affected my academic career in so many positive ways. I have made great connections with people in the field of infectious disease as well as in related fields of ecology and wildlife biology. This experience has allowed me to feel like a real scientific researcher and that has given me even more motivation to continue my journey in academia.”

Read the whole story on the People of PRI news website, here.

Occurrence of Hemorrhagic Disease in Illinois: Four Decades of Spatial and Temporal Changes

By Dr. Nelda A. Rivera, Dr. Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, and Dr. Jan Novakofski
HD outbreaks in white-tailed deer in the U.S. are usually seasonal, occurring from mid-summer to late autumn. The year 1998 was the first year with 163 reported HD cases in 16 counties in Illinois. In 2018, the number of HD cases reported was 462, and by 2019, 99 counties had reported cases in Illinois. Panel B modified from Dorak et al., 2022.

CHAMPAIGN, IL – In a recent study, 38 years of historical data were used to analyze Illinois’s spatial and temporal changes in Hemorrhagic disease (HD) affecting wild white-tailed deer.

“The results of Dorak et al. (2022) corroborate the importance of expanding surveillance efforts, collecting precise geographic locations during outbreaks, and the vital role of virus isolation in helping wildlife agencies understand and predict HD outbreaks and better inform the public.”

Read the whole story at the Outdoor Illinois Wildlife Journal, here.

ICTWS Meeting – 2022

Congrats to our fantastic group of undergraduate students, graduate students, and lab members for their presentations at The 58th Annual Meeting of Illinois Chapter of The Wildlife Society, April 10-12.

Poster Presentations

Undergraduate Students

Rachel E. Lupas

 

A DNA Sequencing Strategy for Studying Novelty-seeking Behavior in White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

 

 

 

Nora Ryan

 

Shadow of the Prion Protein in Chronic Wasting Disease Wild White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

 

 

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CWD Management in Illinois: Improving Turnaround Time

By Nelda A. Rivera, Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, William M. Brown.

“Some advantages of including the ELISA test are that ELISA uses fresh tissue, eliminating exposure to Formaldehyde for those taking and processing the samples. Furthermore, fresh samples can be shipped frozen and stored in less expensive containers (e.g., Whirl-Pak bags). Thus, they require less storage space and, therefore, reduce shipping costs. In addition, ELISA typically has a 4-day turnaround for results depending on the capacity of the diagnostic laboratory.”

During FY 2021, most of the samples received were processed within the first two weeks after the kill date. Therefore, there was a higher percentage of all the samples with completed test results by weeks 10 to 12 (Figure 3; Table 2).

CHAMPAIGN, IL – During the fiscal year 2021, the IDNR surveillance management program—in partnership with Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the University of Missouri Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory—, improved the turnaround time of results of CWD by using a combination of ELISA test (for large-scale hunter harvest surveillance) and Immunohistochemistry (for “special permit surveillance” from IDNR and “suspect deer surveillance”).

 

Read the whole story at the Outdoor Illinois Wildlife Journal, here.

HAEMOSPORIDIAN PARASITES IN ILLINOIS

Are blood parasites found in resident and migratory birds in Illinois?

By Kelsey Martin, Nelda A. Rivera,  Nohra E. Mateus-Pinilla [PDF]

 


Parasitic infections in birds are a significant threat to the health and conservation of avian species. Avian haemosporidian parasites are blood parasites found globally in birds. These blood parasites have a non-specific, broad range of avian hosts and are transmitted by biting vectors that participate in the parasites’ life cycle (Figure 1). For example, Leucocytozoon parasites are transmitted to birds by black flies, and mosquitoes transmit Plasmodium parasites (responsible for malaria) and Haemoproteus parasites. Similar to human malaria, infected birds may develop malaria-like disease,

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LEPTOSPIRA BACTERIA IN NATURAL AREAS

What is it? Who get it? and How it spreads?

By Roshni Mathur, Nelda A. Rivera,  Nohra E. Mateus-Pinilla [PDF]

 


 

You need to know that Leptospirosis is a disease caused by the bacteria Leptospira. The Leptospira bacteria are spread through infected animals’ urine, which can get into water or soil and survive there for weeks to months.1 The number of new cases of Leptospirosis has increased in humans and canines across North America. You also need to know that Leptospirosis in humans may cause mild flu-like symptoms, such as chills and headaches. However, when the bacteria affect organs, such as the liver, lungs, heart, and kidneys, it causes a more severe reaction that can lead to organ failure.2 The most severe Leptospirosis is commonly known as Weil’s disease in humans.3 Animals may suffer from a subclinical infection with mild symptoms to a more advanced condition involving multiple-organ failure and subsequent death.

Leptospirosis’s clinical signs and symptoms will depend on the animal species infected and the type of Leptospira serovar affecting them (a serovar is a variation in the Leptospira bacteria, also known as bacterial strain). Muscle pain, pancreatitis, uveitis (eye inflammation), dysuria (pain while urinating), hemolytic anemia, or respiratory disease are some of the clinical problems developed by animals. Leptospirosis in pregnant animals may result in abortion, stillbirths, weak newborns, or

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From their environment to their behavior

Lessons learned from Illinois’ river otters.

By Nelda A. Rivera,  Nohra Mateus-Pinilla [PDF]

 

A river otter brings lunch to the latrine site. Photograph adapted from Mateus-Pinilla laboratory©

 

River otters are at the top of the trophic food chain, with a varied diet that, for Illinois’ otters, usually includes multiple fish species, mollusks, crayfish, and amphibians—as found by Satterthwaite-Phillips and collaborators in their fatty acid analysis of otter’s adipose tissue conducted in 2014 (Satterthwaite-Phillips et al. 2014). Other reports also indicate that river otters may pray on reptiles (including snakes and turtles), insects and their larvae, and occasionally other mammals and birds.

The variation in the diet of river otters makes them excellent biomonitors—organisms that accumulate in their tissues environmental contaminants—, providing quantitative information about the environment’s quality in specific areas and over time. In Illinois, another study conducted by Carpenter et al. (2014) identified organochlorine pesticides such as dieldrin and DDE (a Continue reading “From their environment to their behavior”

One Female Deer Can Have Multiple Fetuses, How Many and Why Should We Care?

By Yi-Ying Tung, Nelda A. Rivera, Kelsey Martin, Evan London, Nohra Mateus-Pinilla [PDF]

 

Deer at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site near Collinsville, IL. Pictures provided by Brian L. Stauffer.

 

In 2015, around 6 million deer were harvested during the US’s legal hunting season, which is the same number as the total estimated deer population in the US and Canada combined in 1948 (Barlett 1949; QDMA, 2017). With the increasing white-tailed deer population in the Midwest region, carrying capacity—the resource availability to sustain a species population without causing environmental degradation of the land—is critical to the deer health. As it turns out, female pregnancy rates and reproductive characteristics are associated with the number of resources in the habitat available to the white-tailed deer population (Roseberry and Woolf, 1998).

The study, Reproductive Characteristics of Female White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the Midwestern USA (Green et al. 2017), helps us understand the tight and complicated relationships between female white-tailed deer and their fetuses. The evide

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Adjusting to these ‘ever-changing times’

By Rachel Lupas

“My training in this lab makes me more conscious of the proper ways to deal with infectious biological material, an invaluable benefit during COVID-19. “

Lupas processes a tissue sample for analysis.
Lupas processes a tissue sample for analysis. Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

CHAMPAIGN, IL – Inspired by the challenges we are all confronting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, undergraduate student Rachel Lupas shares her experiences as a biosafety level two epidemiology laboratory member. Rachel is and undergraduate student and member of the Wildlife Veterinary Epidemiology Laboratory led by Dr. Nohra Mateus-Pinilla.

Read the whole story at the Illinois New Bureau website, here.

IDNR Announces Closure of CWD Check Stations for 2020 Firearm Deer Season

SPRINGFIELD, IL – In response to rising positivity rates of COVID-19 and in an effort to help ensure the health and safety of Illinois hunters and Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) staff, the IDNR today announced the closure of all Deer Check Stations during the upcoming firearm deer hunting seasons, slated for Nov. 20-22 and Dec. 3-6, 2020. For more information please visit the IDNR website, here.

“Deer hunters, statewide, are encouraged to allow samples to be taken for chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling from adult deer they harvest.”

 

CWD SAMPLING VENDORS: The following locations are serving as CWD sampling stations, taking samples from entire deer or deer heads from October 1, 2020 thru Jan. 17, 2021 [CWD Sampling Vendors]

CWD HEAD DROP-OFF STATIONS: The following sites are serving as self-serve drop-off sites where hunters can fill out a sample submission card and leave adult deer heads [CWD Head Drop-off stations]

 

Here is a complete list of CWD Sampling Locations.

For more information about the Hunt Illinois program, visit the website here.

Test results will be posted by hunter phone number on the IDNR website at: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/programs/CWD/Pages/TestResults.aspx