Infectious Diseases of North American Black Bears (Ursus americanus): Viral and Bacterial Pathogens (Part Two)


  • D. Zimmermann DVM, MS Memphis Zoo
  • Mark A. Mitchell DVM, MS, PhD Louisiana State University



Infectious disease, Ursus, black bear, sentinel, environmental health, pathogen


Black bears (Ursus americanus) serve as an important keystone species within an ecosystem, and can also serve as sentinels for environmental health. Wildlife rehabilitators, biologists, and veterinarians working with these animals should familiarize themselves with infectious diseases commonly associated with these ursids. The purpose of this article is to provide a literature review of the common viral and bacterial pathogens associated with black bears.


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Author Biographies

D. Zimmermann DVM, MS, Memphis Zoo

Dr. Zimmerman graduated from Ross University after a clinical year at Louisiana State University. She completed an internship in zoological medicine at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, and is currently the associate veterinarian at Memphis Zoo.

Mark A. Mitchell DVM, MS, PhD, Louisiana State University

Dr. Mitchell is a former member of the NWRA board of directors. He is Assistant Professor of Zoological Medicine, and Director of the Wildlife Hospital of Louisiana at the Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA.


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How to Cite

Zimmerman, D., & Mitchell, M. (2005). Infectious Diseases of North American Black Bears (Ursus americanus): Viral and Bacterial Pathogens (Part Two). Wildlife Rehabilitation Bulletin, 23(1), 41–46.