Dr. Jessie Price

Discovering the cause and developing vaccines for important avian diseases

contributed by Allie Igwe @an_igwe


Animals, Aquatic, Conservation, Disease ecology, Ecology, Field, Freshwater, Historical figure, Lab, North America, Observational, Race/ethnicity, Viruses, Woman



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Other Resources

Black Women Scientists in the United States


Persistence of Pasteurella multocida in Nebraska wetlands under epizootic conditions


Presentation Notes


Researcher’s Background

Dr. Price was a veterinary microbiologist. She isolated and reproduced the cause of the most common life-threatening disease in duck farming in the 1950s and developed vaccines for this and other avian diseases.


Biography in brief

A graduate of Cornell University, where she gained a PhD (1959), she worked first at the Cornell Duck Research Laboratory and later at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center. She served as chair of the Predoctoral Minority Fellowship Ad Hoc Review Committee of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), and as president of Graduate Women in Science.


Research Overview

Take home message of the paper:

Pasteurella multocida was isolated from five study sites associated with avian cholera mortality.


Study system

Gleason Basin, Nebraska and associated study sites

Pasteurella multocida is a Gram-negative, nonmotile, penicillin-sensitive coccobacillus belonging to the Pasteurellaceae family. P. multocida is the cause of a range of diseases in mammals and birds, including fowl cholera in poultry, atrophic rhinitis in pigs, and bovine hemorrhagic septicemia in cattle and buffalo. It can also cause a zoonotic infection in humans, which typically is a result of bites or scratches from domestic pets. Many mammals (including domestic cats and dogs) and birds harbor it as part of their normal respiratory microbiota (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasteurella_multocida)



Key Research Points


Main contributions/Key Figure


Six sites (designated by letters a-f in Fig. 1) representing three scavenged carcasses, one Canada goose (Branta canadensis) (a) and two whitefronted geese (Anser albifrons) (b, c), and three intact carcasses, one green-winged teal (Anas carolinensis) (d) and two mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) (e, f), were sampled on days 2, 3 (morning), 3 (afternoon), 4, 8, 15, and 21. Water was collected at distances from 0.1 to 1 m from the birds. Carcasses were either left at the site (a, d, f) for the duration of the study or removed (b, c, e) after the first water sample was taken.



Nine (11%) of the 82 mice injected with carcass-associated water were sick but did not die. Although 33 (40%) mice (Table 1) died within 48 hr without any sign of clinical illness, the rest of the inoculates in that group appeared to be healthy. No sick mice were noted in either group after the morning collections on day 3; however, all ensuing mortality occurred within 48 hr.


Societal Relevance

The research conducted here altered management practices for waterfowl across the country.

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