Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

USGS Issues Alert For Deadly Disease In Birds

Date:
December 6, 2000
Source:
United States Geological Survey
Summary:
A deadly bird disease, avian vacuolar myelinopathy (AVM), is affecting mallard ducks and coots on Woodlake in North Carolina; coots on Lake Juliette in central Georgia; and coots, bald eagles and -- for the first time -- a Canada goose on Strom Thurmond Lake on the border of South Carolina and Georgia. The disease has not previously been confirmed in Canada geese.

A deadly bird disease, avian vacuolar myelinopathy (AVM), is affecting mallard ducks and coots on Woodlake in North Carolina; coots on Lake Juliette in central Georgia; and coots, bald eagles and -- for the first time -- a Canada goose on Strom Thurmond Lake on the border of South Carolina and Georgia. The disease has not previously been confirmed in Canada geese. Pathologists at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) in Madison, Wisconsin and the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) at the University of Georgia made the diagnoses.

Related Articles


The USGS today issued a Wildlife Health Alert to natural resource/conservation agencies in order to provide and promote information exchange about significant wildlife health threats in their geographic region.

While there is no evidence that AVM can affect humans, the risk to humans is unknown. People should avoid handling wildlife that have died from unknown causes, or do so with caution using waterproof gloves or an inverted plastic bag. Hunters should avoid shooting wildlife exhibiting unusual behavior, use waterproof gloves when dressing out game, and thoroughly cook meat before eating.

Vacuolar myelinopathy is a nervous system lesion. In affected birds it appears as open spaces in the white matter of the brain. Scientists have determined the spaces are caused by separation of the myelin layers that surround and protect the nerves.

Affected birds may fly erratically or not be able to fly at all. They may crash land, swim tipped to one side with one or both legs or wings extended, or may be in the water on their back with feet in the air. On land, birds may stagger and have difficulty walking; they may fall over and be unable to right themselves (appear intoxicated). Birds are usually alert and may bite when handled even if unable to escape capture. It remains unknown if the disease is "spreading" or if affected birds at other locations are recognized because more people are aware of the problem.

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.

For more information on AVM:

USGS National Wildlife Health Center (http://www.umesc.usgs.gov/nwhchome.html)


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

United States Geological Survey. "USGS Issues Alert For Deadly Disease In Birds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 December 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001206080108.htm>.
United States Geological Survey. (2000, December 6). USGS Issues Alert For Deadly Disease In Birds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001206080108.htm
United States Geological Survey. "USGS Issues Alert For Deadly Disease In Birds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/12/001206080108.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins