Information and Technology Report



Mycotoxins are toxins produced by molds (fungi) that, when they are ingested, can cause diseases called mycotoxicosis. These diseases are are not infectious. The effects on the animal are caused by fungal toxins in foods ingested, usually grains, and are not caused by infection with the fungus. Many different molds produce mycotoxins and many corresponding disease syndromes have been described for domestic animals. However, only two types of mycotoxin poisoning, aflatoxicosis and fusariotoxicosis, have been documented in free-ranging migratory birds.

Until recently, sickness or death caused by mycotoxins were rarely reported in migratory birds. Identification of mycotoxins as the cause of a mortality event can be difficult for a number of reasons. The effects may be subtle and difficult to detect or identify, or the effects may be delayed and the bird may have moved away from the contaminated food source before becoming sick or dying. Also, grain containing toxin-producing molds can be difficult or impossible to recognize because it may not appear overtly moldy.

Techniques to detect and quantify a variety of mycotoxins important to domestic animal and human health are available through many diagnostic laboratories that serve health needs for those species. These same techniques are applicable for wildlife. Further study and improved diagnostic technology is likely to result in identification of additional types of mycotoxins as causes of disease and death in waterfowl and other wildlife.

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title Mycotoxins
Series title Information and Technology Report
Year Published 1999
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description 4 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Field manual of wildlife diseases: General field procedures and diseases of birds
First page 267
Last page 270
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