Print E-mail

Wildlife Diseases


BWDS : Belgian Wildlife Disease Society (BWDS)

WILDSURV : Design of an integrated network for the surveillance of pathogens in wildlife in Belgium


Wildlife diseasesDisease outbreaks in man or animals are associated worldwide with pathogens emanating from wild animals. In the last decades socio-economic and environmental changes (climate) have contributed substantially to the increased risk of disease outbreaks caused by pathogens occurring in wild animals.
Consequently the need of a well organised and continuous risk analysis in this area has increased as well.


In Belgium, an efficient network for active and passive surveillance of pathogens in wildlife, mainly game, exists in Wallonia (Réseau de Surveillance de la Faune sauvage en Région Wallone) since 2001.


Furthermore, a number of organisations and institutes in the entire country are qualified to take part in networks for the surveillance of pathogens in wildlife. However, research initiatives in this field were limited or poorly coordinated until now. An integrated organisation of sampling, diagnostics and reporting has become necessary at the national level, not only on behalf of the public health and animal health, but also in order to allow international communication including the annual reporting of notifiable diseases to the Office International des Epizooties (OIE).


The organisation of networks for active and passive surveillance of pathogens occuring in wild animals necessitates a preceding risk analysis in order to delineate the surveillance goals.


For the definitions of the terminology used and for the methodology we refer to the Terrestrial Animal Health Code of the Office International des Epizooties.

Wildlife diseases


The succesive steps in a risk analysis are the hazard identification, the qualitative or quantitative risk assessment, the risk management and the risk communication. The research within the project aims at the the first two steps of a risk analysis concerning the possible hazards emanating from pathogens in wildlife. In other words a hazard identification and a qualitative risk evaluation will be carried out.


The qualitative risk evaluation is further subdivided in a release assessment, an exposure assesment, a hazard characterisation or consequence assesment and a final risk assessment or risk estimation.


The execution of these first steps of a risk analysis will allow a prioritisation of pathogens to be considered for surveillance in wildlife, specifically for Belgium and based on current informations. The result of the prioritisation is momentaneous and will differ as new, updated information becomes available. Wildlife diseases


The BWDS is an independently working organisation, not related to any official instance, uniting scientists and practitioners in order to promote research and to exchange information in the field of wildlife diseases in Belgium. Though most participants are veterinarians, the BWDS is open to biologists, ecologists, bio-engineers, officials and others actively working in the field of wildlife diseases in Belgium.


We believe as a matter of fact that a multidisciplinary approach is the key to a broad exchange of knowledge and the development of an efficient wildlife disease-monitoring network.


Next to the collection of basic information on wildlife diseases for the Belgian territory, the main objectives are the monitoring of unusual wildlife mortalities and the surveillance of known pathogens and emerging diseases.


In connection, the organisation aims at advising the Belgian authorities about wildlife diseases in order to meet their obligations towards the OIE.


Last but not least the BWDS wants to constitute a forum and an information desk for anyone interested in wildlife diseases in Belgium or trying to find answers to particular questions in this field.




CODA-CERVA offers with his expertise in different kinds of animal (and/or zoonotic) diseases a tool to make routine diagnosis on a large range of wildlife diseases.


CODA-CERVA is looking to improve the surveillance on wildlife diseases in Belgium (see WILDSURV).


Based on expertise in animal diseases, CODA-CERVA has a large expertise on diseases that are important in Wildlife. Additionally, as co-founder and member of the board of the BWDS, CODA-CERVA contributes to continuous update and knowledge improvement on the matter.

Finally, Roels Stefan is designated as National focal point of contact for the OIE concerning Wildlife diseases by the FPS.


CODA-CERVA research project on this topic (recent or under way) :

WILDSURV : Development of an integrated network for the surveillance of pathogens in the Belgian wildlife.

Wildlife diseases


Stefan Roels

Marc Dispas

Sophie Roelandt



- Geurden T, Goossens E, Levecke B, Vercammen F, Vercruysse J, Claerebout E. Occurrence and molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium and Giardia in captive wild ruminants in Belgium. J Zoo Wildl Med. 2009,40(1):126-30

- Magnino S., Colin P., Dei-Cas E., Masden M., Mcleuchlin J., Nöckler K., Maradona M.P., Tsigarida E., Vanopdenbosch E., Van Peteghem C. Biological risks associated with consumption of reptile products. Int j food microbiol, 2009,134(3),163-75.


- Tavernier P, Linden A, Pirot P, Heyman P, Dobly A, Dispas M, Roels S (2008). Improvement of Wildlife disease surveillance in Belgium: the WILDSURV project. During the 8th meeting of the European Wildlife Disease Association, Istria, Croatia, 2-5 October 2008, abstractbook p 90 (poster).
- During 25th meeting of the European Society of Veterinary Pathology (ESVP), Munchen, Gernamy, 29th of august - 01 septembre 2007, abstractbook p 99 (poster)
- During the Second symposium of the Belgian Wildlife Disease Society (BWDS), 13th of Octobre 2007, Queen Astrid Military Hospital, Brussels, abstractbook pp 31, 34, 35 and 41
- De Bosschere H, Wang Z, Orlandi PA and Roels S (2007).First diagnosis of Encephalotozoon intestinalis and E. hellem in an European Brown Hare (Lepus Europaeus) with kidney lesions.
- De Bosschere H., Casaer J., Neukermans A., Baert K., Tavernier P., Roels S. (2007).Severe alopecia due to demodecosis in roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in Belgium. Veterinary Journal 174 (3), 665-668. (*)
- Goossens E.,Vercammen F.,Dorny P., Vercruysse F., Roels S. (2007).Pathological lesions related with helminthiosis in different species of captive wild ruminants
- Roels S, Heyman P, Dobly A, De Sloovere J, Durand S and Vanopdenbosch E (2007) Borna virus screening in wild mice in Belgium : preliminary data
- Tavernier P, De Filette M, Van Borm S, Lambrecht B, Roels S, Munster V, Verbeylen G, Baert K and van den Berg T (2007).Results of 2 years sampling for avian Influenza in free ranging geese in Belgium


- De Bosschere H., Roels S., Vanopdenbosch E. (2006). "Chronic Wasting Disease": de BSE van de hertachtigen - eerste resultaten van een controle in Wallonië. De Vlaamse Jager, maart, 26-27.
- De Bosschere H., Casaer J., Neukermans A., Baert K., Tavernier P., Roels S. (2006).Erge alopecie bij reeën (Capreolus capreolus) door demodexschruft. De Vlaamse Jager, juni, 34-35.
- De Bosschere H., Saegerman C., Neukermans A., Berkvens D., Casaer J., Vanopdenbosch E. and Roels S.(2006).First chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) in the Northern part of Belgium. Veterinary Quarterly 28 (2), 54-60.
- De Bosschere H., Roels S., Vanopdenbosch E (2006).Hepatic lipidosis in a Captive North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum). Veterinary Research Communications 30 (8), 907-910


- De Bosschere H., Roels S., Lemmens N., Vanopdenbosch E (2005). Canine Distemper Virus in Asian Clawless Otter (Aonyx Cinereus) littermates in captivity. Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 74 (4), 299-302.

- Roels S, Saegerman C, De Bosschere H, Berkvens D, Gregoire F, Hoyoux A, Mousset B, Desmecht D, Vanopdenbosch E and Linden A. (2005). First results of chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance in the South-Eastern part of Belgium. Veterinary Quarterly 27 (3), 98-104.


- Vandekerchove D, Roels S, Butaye P, Van Den Berge K, Peeters J (2003). Prevalence of rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) in wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in Flanders, Belgium, 1999-2002. Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 72, 137-143.


- Godfroid J, Boelaert F, Heier A, Clavereau C, Wellemans V, Desmecht M, Roels S, Walravens K. (2000).First evidence of Johne's disease in farmed red deer (Cervus elaphus) in Belgium. Veterinary Microbiology 77 (3-4), 283-290.