Published Date: 2010-08-17 14:00:08
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Botulism, avian - USA (05): (FL) susp.
Archive Number: 20100817.2848
BOTULISM, AVIAN - USA (05): (FLORIDA) SUSPECTED
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Thu 12 Aug 2010
Source: News-Press [edited]
State wildlife officials now suspect that avian botulism or other
natural causes may be responsible for the demise of 4 Muscovy ducks
at a Cape Coral park.
However, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission won't
know for a couple of months whether botulism or some other deadly
pathogen is responsible for the mallards' deaths, said agency
spokesman Gary Morse. "We're leaning toward a natural pathogen,
possibly botulism, as being the cause," Morse said.
It was suspected that the domestic ducks were poisoned -- either
accidentally by eating bugs on lawns treated with pesticides and
other chemicals, or deliberately, Morse said.
However, veterinarians confirmed that birds infected with botulism or
other deadly germs show the same signs as poisoned fowl, Morse said.
A total of 7 sick Muscovy ducks were found at Four Freedoms Park in
the past 2 weeks and taken to the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of
Wildlife on Sanibel, said Steve Pohlman, city parks and recreation
director. He said 3 of the ducks survived.
Police were notified of the possible poisoning of the ducks, which is
a crime under state law. However, police who talked to state wildlife
officials were told that because of hot water temperatures in the
Bimini Basin near the park, and dead fish found there, a natural
cause such as avian botulism is suspected, Pohlman said.
The bodies of some dead ducks and other dead wading birds gathered
from the area will be sent to a lab for testing, Morse said.
The good news is that avian botulism is not a threat to humans, Morse
said. Still, it is prudent to handle any sick bird with gloves or
plastic bags on the hands, he said. Any sightings of dead ducks or
other fowl in the area should be entered into the wildlife agency's
Bird Mortality database by going to myfwc.com, Morse said.
[Byline: Denes Husty III]
HealthMap Alerts via ProMED-mail
[The sporulating anaerobic gram-positive bacillus _Clostridium
botulinum_ elaborates 7 types of antigenically distinct neurotoxins,
4 of which affect humans: type A, B, E, or rarely type F toxin. Types
A and B toxins are highly poisonous proteins resistant to digestion
by GI (gastrointestinal) enzymes. About half of the foodborne
outbreaks in the United States are caused by type A toxin, followed
by types B and E.
Type C botulism occurs principally in waterfowl and other birds
living in an aquatic environment and causes tremendous losses, most
notably in waterfowl in the western US. In addition to North America,
it has been reported in birds in Europe, South Africa, Uruguay, and
Australia. In the Great Lakes region, it was first identified in 1936
in ducks on Green Bay of Lake Michigan and in 1941 in Monroe County
marshes along Lake Erie. Type C is most often associated with
limberneck paralysis in birds.
Type E botulism is connected with consumption of fish and occurs
mainly in gulls and loons, and to a lesser extent in mergansers, mute
swans, grebes, and shorebirds. It now appears any birds or mammals
susceptible to botulinum toxin run a risk of becoming poisoned if
they scavenge dead fish. Evidence for this includes the
identification of type E toxin in a bald eagle, wood ducks, and
muskrats with fish remaining in their digestive tracts.
Typically a bird dies of some cause, and the carcass is an incubator
for the anaerobes. The maggots move into the decomposing carcass,
accumulating the toxin. Other birds come to eat the maggots on the
carcass and infect themselves, dying from the very disease they
consumed, and so the circle gets larger and requires that carcasses
to be picked up, or the cycle continues. - Mod.TG]
[Cape Coral in Southwest Florida can be located on the
HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map of the US at
<http://healthmap.org/r/02SS>. - Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]