Wildlife Diseases, Parasites, and Infections

Bird Diseases

Avian Influenza

Avian Influenza (AI) is a type A influenza virus naturally found in certain waterfowl and shorebird species. One strain, H5N1 avian influenza, raised concerns regarding the potential impact on wild birds, domestic poultry, and human health should it be introduced into the US.

Avian Cholera

Avian Cholera is a contagious bacterial disease that affects ducks, geese, coots, gulls, and crows.
It can be transmitted by bird-to-bird contact, contact with secretions or feces of infected birds, or through food, water, and soil. It is deadly to birds, but not considered contagious to humans.

Wellfleet Bay Virus

The Wellfleet Bay virus is a disease that affects Eider ducks and has thus far been confined to one location: Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Loosely related to the flu virus, it attacks the liver and gallbladder, and seems to work very fast. Learn more at NWDC.

Lymphoproliferative Disease Virus (LPDV)

LPDV is a disease that affects turkeys and was not detected in the United States until 2012, though it had been seen in domestic turkeys in Great Britain. The disease is similar to Avian Pox and manifests as tumors to the head and feet of turkey, but it is not transmissible to humans.

Deer Diseases, Parasites, and Infections

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal disease that affects cervids such as deer and moose. It has not yet been found in Maine, and there are things hunters can do to prevent it from being spread here. Learn more by visiting our CWD page.


Deer fibromas are wart-like growths on deer that are typically caused by an infection with a species-specific papillomavirus. In most cases, fibromas will not negatively impact the health of infected deer, and fibromas are not known to be a significant source of deer mortality. Learn more on our deer fibroma page.

Lice, mange, and/or dermatophilosis

It is not uncommon to see deer missing patches of fur, and there are several possible causes for this including lice, mange, and/or dermatophilosis, also known as rain rot. Learn more on our hair loss in deer page.


Furbearer and Bat Diseases


Mange is a contagious skin disease that is caused by mites. Mange results in hair loss and is most commonly seen in foxes and coyotes in Maine, but has also been reported in bobcats, black bears, porcupines, rabbits, squirrels, and raccoons in other areas of North America. People can be infected with mange, a condition known as scabies. If you see a wild animal with mange, there is no need to call for help. Many affected animals with mange are able to recover from the disease. Mange is a naturally occurring disease that helps manage wildlife populations at healthy levels. Learn more at NWDC.


Rabies is a virus that infects the central nervous system of mammals (most commonly bats, fox, raccoons, and skunk), causing a brain disease that is fatal unless treated before symptoms start. It is spread by direct contact through a scratch or bite that breaks the skin, or through a mucous membrane. Learn more from the Maine CDC.

White-nose Syndrome

White-nose syndrome is a deadly disease that affects bats that hibernate in the winter. It is called white-nose syndrome because of the white fungus commonly found on the muzzles of infected bats. WNS emerged in Maine in 2011 and affects several native bat species. Learn more on the MDIFW website

Moose Parasites

Winter Tick

The winter tick is a small, external parasite which, like all of Maine’s 15 tick species, survives on the blood of animals. Unlike other ticks, winter ticks are not known to spread disease. However, they can be deadly to moose. Learn more on our winter tick page.