Published Date: 2004-11-06 23:50:00
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Avian cholera, waterfowl - USA (UT)
Archive Number: 20041106.3008
AVIAN CHOLERA, WATERFOWL - USA (UTAH)
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: 6 Nov 2004
From: Pablo Nart <email@example.com>
Source: Daily Herald, 6 Nov 2004 [edited]
An outbreak of avian cholera, currently killing thousands of birds on Great
Salt Lake, is among the biggest in years, state wildlife officials said
Friday [5 Nov 2004]. The disease is lethal to waterfowl and other water
birds, but, does not affect humans.
About 30 000 eared grebes have died on the lake in the latest outbreak.
Each fall, about 1.5 million of the small diving birds settle on the lake
for refueling before continuing their travel south. The lake gives the
birds enough food for them to double their weight before they head on to
the southwest and into Mexico.
Previous avian cholera outbreaks occurred at the lake in 1994, 1995, 1998,
"We're keeping a close eye on the situation," said Frank Howe, nongame
avian coordinator for the DWR. "As long as dead grebes remain in the middle
of the lake, which is where they currently are, they pose only a minor
threat to other bird populations.
"If we get a strong north wind that drives the dead grebes near freshwater
sources along the south shore, however, the risk of ducks and even bald
eagles being exposed to cholera increases greatly. If that happens, we may
need to mobilize a major cleanup effort, like we did in 1998."
Avian cholera is one of the most common diseases among wild North American
waterfowl. Once birds are infected, they die quickly, sometimes within 6 to
[Avian Cholera is caused by the bacterium _Pasteurella multocida_ Type 1.
The disease may be transmitted by aerosol or by contact between birds,
primarily through fecal contact or consumption of contaminated feed or water.
Generally, the 1st sign of the disease is large die offs of apparently
healthy birds. Ducks are sensitive to the disease and are affected
peracutely. The birds are generally in good flesh and may literally fall
from the sky if affected while in flight, or, die while eating with no
other clinical signs. Birds less acutely affected may appear ill with
listlessness, swimming in circles, and erratic flight. They also have a
mucous discharge from the mouth, and there may be blood; the vent is
generally matted, and the droppings are pasty with a tan to yellow color.
The disease is easily and rapidly spread. Carcass removal is essential to
controlling the disease. Although humans are generally not considered to be
at risk of contracting this disease, gloves are recommended when handling
the carcasses or sick birds. Thorough hand washings are also recommended,
even if gloves are worn. - Mod.TG]