Wednesday, January 1, 2014

 

Soaring deaths of bald eagles in Utah attributed to West Nile virus


The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources said in a report that laboratory results confirmed that the virus was responsible for the deaths of 27 bald eagles over the past few weeks.

State wildlife officials announced Tuesday that a rare seasonal outbreak of West Nile virus is to blame for the recent spike in deaths of iconic bald eagles across northern Utah.

“It’s actually very surprising that this is the conclusive result,” Leslie McFarlane, wildlife disease coordinator for the Utah DWR told NBC News.
Officials were not certain how the eagles contracted the virus, but said they believe they may have been exposed by consuming infected eared grebes, a member of the grebe family of water birds, that recently died on Great Salt Lake. The disease usually affects birds during warmer months, when the mosquitoes that carry it are active, according to the report.
 “So this is an unusual time to document West Nile viruses because it’s cold and we don’t have mosquitoes circulating,” McFarlane said, calling the winter outbreak “pretty rare.”

McFarlane said that in winter, bald eagles obtain most of their food by eating dead animals. Since all of the dead eagles had been within flying distance of the lake, that led to the hypothesis that the eagles could have contracted West Nile virus after eating grebes that died at the lake from the same disease. Testing of the grebes is ongoing, she said.

The report said testing of the eagles at the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Logan, Utah, and the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., “definitively ruled out many other possible causes of death," including toxic chemicals or poisons, lead poisoning, bacterial infection and other viruses.
McFarlane told NBC News that the DWR currently knows of 27 bald eagles that have died from the disease, with five others being treated using supportive care for West Nile.
“They’re responding well,” she said.





Due to the nature of the outbreak and the fact that not all of the birds died at the same time, McFarlane said it took about a month to fully determine what caused the deaths.
She added that between 750 to 1,200 bald eagles visit Utah in winter and the deaths have not had a major impact on their population.
“We don’t think that this outbreak is going to affect the local population negatively,” she said, adding that she did not believe it would affect the national population either.

Image: A bald eagle that was brought into the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center that later died.


JoDee Baker, epidemiologist with the Utah Department of Health, said in the DWR report people do not need to be concerned about the outbreak, as the dead grebes and dead eagles do not pose a risk to people.
“People become infected with West Nile virus after being bitten by a mosquito that carries the virus,” Baker says. “Since the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus aren’t active in the winter, there’s no risk to the public’s health.”
Tags : ,

Share

Social

The idea behind the text.
Respect for the truth is almost the basis of all morality.
Nothing can come from nothing.



Follow

Popular Topics

Read

Well, the way they make shows is, they make one show. That show's called a pilot. Then they show that show to the people who make shows, and on the strength of that one show they decide if they're going to make more shows.

Like you, I used to think the world was this great place where everybody lived by the same standards I did, then some kid with a nail showed me I was living in his world, a world where chaos rules not order, a world where righteousness is not rewarded. That's Cesar's world, and if you're not willing to play by his rules, then you're gonna have to pay the price.

You think water moves fast? You should see ice. It moves like it has a mind. Like it knows it killed the world once and got a taste for murder. After the avalanche, it took us a week to climb out. Now, I don't know exactly when we turned on each other, but I know that seven of us survived the slide... and only five made it out. Now we took an oath, that I'm breaking now. We said we'd say it was the snow that killed the other two, but it wasn't. Nature is lethal but it doesn't hold a candle to man.

You see? It's curious. Ted did figure it out - time travel. And when we get back, we gonna tell everyone. How it's possible, how it's done, what the dangers are. But then why fifty years in the future when the spacecraft encounters a black hole does the computer call it an 'unknown entry event'? Why don't they know? If they don't know, that means we never told anyone. And if we never told anyone it means we never made it back. Hence we die down here. Just as a matter of deductive logic.