(Neb)-Scottsbluff-Area Duck Deaths Blamed On Disease From Tainted Grain
LINCOLN, Neb - The National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., confirms that pneumonia caused by the fungal infection known as Aspergillus fumigatus was responsible for the death of approximately 300 mallards in Scotts Bluff County last week.
A report from the Wisconsin center presented Friday to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission said the diagnosis was made based on necropsies performed on six duck carcasses.
A hunter discovered the dead mallards on Sunday Jan. 7 along a 2- to 3-mile stretch of Ninemile Creek, which just east of Lake Minatare.
Game and Parks disease research program manager Todd Nordeen says the ducks likely contracted the fungal condition by eating moldy grain at an unknown location and that it is not contagious and unlikely to spread.
In fact, Nordeen says it already appears to have subsided, adding that once all the grain or source is cleaned up or eaten, the outbreak will end.”
Birds that have contracted the disease exhibit signs of weakness and a lack of coordination. Nordeen says anyone who observes such behavior or finds dead birds should contact a Game and Parks conservation officer.
He also says hunters should not eat the sick or dead mallards and should not handle them with bare hands.
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