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USGS issues alert for deadly disease in birds

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All diagnostic, field and laboratory efforts indicate the cause is most likely a chemical substance, either one that is naturally occurring or manmade. It is unclear how the birds are exposed to the toxins. Many agencies are continuing field, laboratory and research efforts to determine the cause of the disease.

USGS-NWHC is conducting research on AVM using mallards and coots in a sentinel study for the disease at North Carolina. So far the study has confirmed that the disease is site-specific, i.e. the lakes where birds are dying is the site of exposure. Samples of water, vegetation, and sediments were immediately collected at the locations where mallards were feeding. Feeding experiments are also underway to try and determine the route of exposure.

Wildlife managers are encouraged to observe coots, waterfowl and eagles and report any sick birds to the National Wildlife Health Center at 608-270-2400 or the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at 706-542-1741. If any freshly dead birds are found, keep carcasses chilled on ice or refrigerated, but not frozen, while you contact the above agencies.


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Contact: Paul Slota
paul_slota@usgs.gov
608-270-2420
United States Geological Survey
4-Dec-2000


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