Published Date: 2012-02-13 15:18:54
Subject: PRO/AH> Botulism, avian - New Zealand: (CB) susp
Archive Number: 20120213.1040575
BOTULISM, AVIAN - NEW ZEALAND: (CANTERBURY), SUSPECTED
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Thu 9 Jan 2012
Source: Voxy.co.nz [edited]
The Christchurch City Council, NIWA (a crown-owned research and consultancy company) and Fish and Game New Zealand are working collaboratively to determine the cause of birdlife deaths at Christchurch's oxidation ponds and other wetland areas in the eastern parts of the city.
In recent weeks, a number of birds have been found dead along the banks of the oxidation ponds located at the Christchurch wastewater treatment plant.
Investigations by local ornithologists and vets at Massey University are now being conducted. The initial diagnosis of the deaths is avian botulism, a natural phenomena which has occurred around the world and in New Zealand wetland areas.
Specialist testing is being undertaken to confirm this initial diagnosis, and the Council hopes to have this information by mid-February 2012. Until the exact cause of the bird deaths is known, the council recommends the public and any pets stay away from sick or dead birds.
If any dead or infected birds are encountered in the Bromley area, please contact the council on (03) 941 8999.
Avian botulism is a paralysing, often fatal disease which is caused by a botulism bacterium. Birds suffering from the bug will have sluggish movements and will struggle to use their wings, raise their heads, or feed. The toxin thrives in still, shallow, warm water, including waterways or ponds.
Avian botulism cannot be transferred to humans.
[Avian botulism is a paralytic disease caused by ingestion of a toxin produced by the bacteria _Clostridium botulinum_. These bacteria are widespread in soil and require warm temperatures, a protein source, and an anaerobic (no oxygen) environment in order to become active and produce toxin. Decomposing vegetation and invertebrates combined with warm temperatures can provide ideal conditions for the botulism bacteria to activate and produce toxin. There are several types of toxin produced by strains of these bacteria; birds are most commonly affected by type C and to a lesser extent type E. More information on the associated pathology found in the dead swans would be helpful.
A ProMED-mail HealthMap of the affected area can be accessed at http://healthmap.org/r/1Muk. - Mod.PMB]