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National Wildlife Health Center

Laboratory Information:

National Wildlife Health Center
6006 Schroeder Road
Madison, WI 53711-6223
Phone: 608-270-2400
Fax: 608-270-2415
Agency/Department: Dept. of Interior
Region: Midwest

Background/History of the Laboratory:

The National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) is a science center of the Biological Resources Discipline of the United States Geological Survey. The NWHC was established in 1975 as a biomedical laboratory dedicated to assessing the impact of disease on wildlife and to identifying the role of various pathogens in contributing to wildlife losses.

Each year, wildlife managers across the United States are confronted with sick and dead animals, frequently on a large scale. Minimizing such wildlife losses depends on effective technical support, knowledgeable guidance, and timely intervention. The NHWC's modern buildings and laboratories are designed exclusively for combatting wildlife diseases. Due to the mobility of wildlife and the potential for spread of disease, timely and accurate determination of causes of wildlife illness and death is a prerequisite to achieving effective disease control and prevention. National wildlife refuge personnel, law enforcement agents, state conservation agency biologists, university-affiliated scientists and others send wildlife carcasses and tissue samples to the NWHC for diagnostic examination. The Center has a staff of over seventy scientists and support personnel who offer services and conduct activities to prevent and control wildlife diseases.

Mission of the Laboratory:

The mission of the National Wildlife Health Center is to serve the nation and its natural resources by providing sound science and technical support, and to disseminate information to promote science-based decisions affecting wildlife and ecosystem health. The NWHC provides information, technical assistance, research, education, and leadership on national and international wildlife health issues.

To fulfill the NWHC mission, the Center monitors disease and assesses the impact of disease on wildlife populations; defines ecological relationships leading to the occurrence of disease; transfers technology for disease prevention and control; and provides guidance, training and on-site assistance for reducing wildlife losses when outbreaks occur.