Institute for Fish and Wildlife Health


WildGuARDS: Epidemiology of infectious diseases in wild birds

Many species we love from our own gardens, such as squirrels, birds, or hedgehogs, may carry important pathogens such as Salmonella and avian influenza virus. Some of them are transmissible to human and domestic animals or other wildlife, with potential impacts on populations and thus biodiversity. However, the general Swiss wildlife health surveillance (WHS) programme features some crucial gaps, including incomplete and scattered health data, especially concerning these garden species.

The project WildGuARDS explores new surveillance approaches focusing on birds through close collaboration with wildlife experts and bird stakeholders. First, we will define syndromes based on distinct pathological categories using necropsy reports and scientific literature. Second, we evaluate the feasibility of a citizen-based online reporting system for these syndromes using existing apps designed for species observations.

The project was funded by the Multidisciplinary Center for Infectious Disease (MCID), University of Bern and is supported by the Veterinary Public Health Institute.

Kontakt: Isabelle Wethli (Doctoral Student), Saskia Keller (Project lead)