New UC Davis – CDFW Publication describes the pathologic findings from a notoedric mange outbreak in Western gray squirrels from the San Bernardino mountains

A  team from UC Davis–the UC Davis California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab (CAHFS), CDFW veterinarians Pam Swift and Deana Clifford, and CDFW biologist Jeff Villepique–describe the findings from a notoedric mange outbreak that occurred in 2009 and was thought to be responsible for a significant decline in the number of Western Gray Squirrels in the mountain communities of San Bernardino County.

A western gray squirrel from the San Bernardino Mountains with signs of mange. Photo courtesy of California Department of Fish & Wildlife News, June 23, 2011.

A western gray squirrel from the San Bernardino Mountains with signs of mange. Photo courtesy of California Department of Fish & Wildlife News, June 23, 2011.

The team found that mange infections were quite severe for the affected squirrels, and confirmed through electron microscopy and molecular methods that the mite making squirrels sick was a species called Notoedres centrifera, a mite known to have caused outbreaks in other western gray squirrel populations.

CDFW and UC Davis are continuing to monitor the western gray squirrels in this area using a citizen science website where people can report sightings of both sick and healthy squirrels.

Click here to download the full paper from the International Journal for Parasitology:

Pathologic findings in Western gray squirrels (Sciurus griseus) from a notoedric mange epidemic in the San Bernardino Mountains, California

Nicole Stephenson, Pam Swift, Jeffrey T. Villepique, Deana L. Clifford, Akinyi Nyaoke, Alfonso De la Mora, Janet Moore, and Janet Foley. 2013.  International Journal for Parasitology. Volume 2,  Pages 266–270.