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Whirling Disease Initiative logo
[Image: Whirling Disease Initiative]

The Whirling Disease Initiative was established by Congress in 1997 to conduct research that will lead to practical methods of managing wild trout fisheries.

The Initiative's web site is full of valuable information about whirling disease, including frequently asked questions, parasite distribution maps, life cycle diagrams, photographs, literature, and management tips.

The Mountain Prairie Node worked with the Initiative to create distribution maps, an interactive map, and a data repository for fisheries researchers and professionals.  Learn more about these projects.

Whirling Disease

"Whirling disease" is a disease of salmonid fish, the family of fish that includes trout, salmon, and whitefish. The disease is caused by a microscopic parasite known as Myxobolus cerebralis. In an infected fish, the parasite can affect nerves and cause cartilage damage which results in the outward signs of whirling disease. Whirling disease gets its name from the abnormal whirling or tail-chasing behavior exhibited by some infected fish. Other symptoms may include a black tail in younger fish. In older fish, signs may include deformities to the head or body. Severe whirling disease infections can kill fish. Carriers with no visible signs of disease are common.

Source: The Whirling Disease Initiative

Where is whirling disease found?
The Mountain Prairie Node and The Whirling Disease Initiative partnered to create an interactive map and static maps for fisheries professionals and anglers. Learn more about these maps.

What sort of research has been conducted on whirling disease?
The Whirling Disease Initiative Data Repository is a research database with information on research projects funded by the Initiative. This project is another collaboration between the Initiative and the Mountain Prairie Node.

Where can I learn more about whirling disease?
Go to the frequently asked questions of the Whirling Disease Initiative, or select from the links below.

Resources on Whirling Disease
Showing 16 Results
CollapseAnswers to Frequently Asked Questions About Whirling Disease
Description: The Whirling Disease Initiative has pulled together information from several sources to provide this comprehensive list of questions and answers about whirling disease. The list serves as a complete overview of what is known about the parasite and what is being further researched.
Resource Type: FAQs
Resource Format: URL
Publisher: Montana State University
ExpandChallenge of Whirling Disease
ExpandColorado River Cutthroat Conservation
ExpandFish and Aquatic Organism Health
ExpandIndiana Invasive Species Overview
ExpandIntroduced Species Summary Project
ExpandNBII - Mountain Prairie Information Node (MPIN) - Whirling Disease
ExpandNBII - Mountain Prairie Information Node (MPIN) - Whirling Disease
ExpandProtect Your Waters - Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!
ExpandSalmonid Whirling Disease
ExpandWhat in the Whirld is Whirling Disease?
ExpandWhirling Disease - Frequently Asked Questions
ExpandWhirling Disease and Colorado's Trout
ExpandWhirling Disease Initiative
ExpandWhirling Disease Initiative: Life cycle of the whirling disease parasite
ExpandWhirling disease profile
Whirling Disease Resources for Teachers
Showing 4 Results
CollapseAdopt-A-Trout High School Lesson Plans
Description: "These high school lessons (9-12) are intended to be an introduction to the anatomy of a trout. Students will dissect a trout and learn about the different body systems and organ functions. Students will understand whirling disease and its effects on the trout population. Students will learn how to collect and analyze data. Students will be placed in the role of scientists as they investigate and observe natural phenomena. Students will acquire and apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills."
Resource Type: K-12 Curriculum and Lesson Plans
Resource Format: URL
Publisher: Blackfoot Challenge
ExpandCoastal Ecosystem Science Lesson Plan: Alien Invasion!
ExpandNBII - Mountain Prairie Information Node (MPIN) - Whirling Disease
ExpandNBII - Mountain Prairie Information Node (MPIN) - Whirling Disease

Myxobolus cerebralis Myxospores

Myxobolus cerebralis myxospores
[Photo: Author Unknown]

Mountain Prairie States
Detecting the Disease

Map showing the states in Mountain Prairie that detect whirling disease: Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho
[Image: Aaron Jones, Big Sky Institute]

Learn About Wildlife Disease

Wildlife Disease Node logo
[Image: NBII]

The NBII Wildlife Disease Information Node is a collaborative project working to provide access to data on wildlife diseases, mortality events, and other critical information related to wildlife diseases. The audience is state and federal resource managers, animal disease specialists, veterinary diagnostic laboratories, physicians, public health workers, educators, and the general public.

Visit the Wildlife Disease Node to learn more about avian influenza, chronic wasting disease, West Nile Virus, and other diseases organized by species and type. Or, explore the Wildlife Health Monitoring Network, try the interactive maps, or search related publications.

The NBII Program is administered by the Biological Informatics Program of the U.S. Geological Survey
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