Friday, April 17, 2009

Salmonella outbreak killing wild birds, feeder hygene issue?

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: 17 Apr 2009
Source: Idaho Mountain Express and Guide [edited]

Salmonella outbreak kills birds
Reports have surfaced of a small outbreak of salmonella among birds
in the Wood River Valley [Idaho]. The affected birds are pine
siskins, small creatures that are considered susceptible to salmonella.

Information on the birds' deaths 1st came from Jeramie Dreyfuss, a
Hailey resident and bird enthusiast who said she found some 30 dead
birds in her backyard. Dreyfuss sent the birds to Mark Drew, wildlife
veterinarian for Idaho Fish and Game's Bureau of Wildlife, who
performed an autopsy. Drew said that the autopsy showed traces of
salmonella in the birds. He did not yet know what strain of
salmonella killed the birds or what caused the outbreak. "We don't
know the source," he said. "But my thoughts right now are that it's a
feeder hygiene situation where there are a lot of feeders out and a
lot of contaminated seed that's old and wet." Drew recommended people
clean their bird feeders and maybe go as far as to stop feeding the
birds for the next week or 2.

Krysten Schuler, wildlife disease specialist for the U.S. Geological
Survey National Wildlife Health Center, agreed. "We are having
national reports of salmonellosis that is specific to birds," Schuler
said. "The message to get out about this disease is that it is common
to backyard birdfeeders, as they can easily become contaminated. So
it's important for people to clean their feeders using a 10 percent
bleach solution, and while outbreaks are going on like this, it is
better to take down their feeders for about 2 weeks so the birds
don't congregate."

Despite the die-off in Hailey, Schuler and Drew are not particularly
concerned. "This is not a problem that is unanticipated," Drew said.
"We've seen the problem before, and it is happening in other places
in the country." In addition, Drew said the death of 30 birds is a
very small and localized mortality event. "Thirty birds out of a said
population of 3000 is very small, even if there may well be other
incidents of death," he said. Drew noted that people should pay
attention to hygiene habits in their homes, especially for dogs, cats
and young children, who can pick up contaminated seeds or bird feces.

[Byline: Della Sentilles, Express Staff Writer]

Communicated by:
HealthMap Alerts via ProMED-mail

[It would be interesting to know the serotype(s) recovered from these
backyard wild birds. I would remind our members that the USA has had
recalls in relation to salmonella contaminated peanuts and pistachio
nuts. If it can get into those I am sure it can find its way into
sunflower seeds and other products used in bird feeders. Damp and wet
feed will enable multiplication when it is warm enough. We look
forward to hearing which serotype(s) are recovered. While it could be
a totally separate event, it would be interesting if this event is an
epidemiological canary. (Canaries were kept in coal mines as
sentinels for various poisonous gases and when they died, the miners
headed out quickly.) - Mod.MHJ]

[The state of Idaho can be located in the HealthMap/ProMED-mail
interactive map at: - CopyEd.EJP]

[see also:
Salmonella, avian - USA: (WI), bird feeders 20090329.1213
Salmonella, bird food - USA: (NC) recall 20090313.1044
Salmonellosis, avian - Sweden: RFI 20070206.0474
Salmonellosis, pine siskins - USA (CA) 20050213.0492
Salmonella, birds, humans - New Zealand 20011225.3113
Salmonella, birds - New Zealand (02) 20001003.1703
Salmonella, birds - New Zealand 20000927.1675
Salmonellosis, songbirds - USA & Canada (02) 20000525.0829
Salmonellosis, songbirds - USA & Canada 20000519.0785
Salmonella, common redpolls - Canada 20000512.0726]

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