50+ dead birds found along the waterways in Kapiti, New Zealand
An avian epidemiology expert is urging the public to dispose of dead birds and bring sick birds suspected of having avian botulism to a vet.
More than 50 dead birds, including ducks, gulls and a shag, had been collected by Kapiti Coast District Council and SPCA staff, following reports from residents and patrols of waterways.
Massey University veterinary, animal and biomedical sciences associate prof Brett Gartrell said while botulism was possible, it was not the only possible cause for the dead birds.
Cyanobacteria blooms (blue green algae) or deliberate malicious poisoning looked the same.
It was hoped the Ministry of Primary Industries would investigate, he said.
Avian botulism is a toxin caused by a bacteria that lives in rotting vegetation – the same nerve toxin used in botox treatment, he said.
When birds eat the toxin they become aggressively paralysed and die because of respiratory failure. ‘
‘It’s not a nice way to die.”
Botulism was difficult to prevent and popped up when least expected but tended to be “tend to be short explosive outbreaks “
A botulism outbreak could pass to pets that eat the dead birds but not humans.
Courtesy of stuff.co.nz