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"Searching for the Mysterious Killer of the Great - Billed Parrots" --by David N. Phalen, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ABVP (Avian)

 

June 2003 - Update

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ast year, as you probably already know, I had the occasion to finally see this disease in person.

It was devastating for me to see its impact and to see birds die despite aggressive treatment. Last summer, I also received dead birds from 3 other aviaries and so now, for the first time, have tissues from birds with this disease to study.

This summer with the support from Central Indiana Cage Bird Club, we are attempting to isolate a virus from the tissues that we collected last summer.

Until we find the cause of this disease, there is not (a) way to really know how to prevent it. However, my impressions are that it occurs primarily in the Gulf States, it follows periods were there is a lot of rain, and that it may be spread by insects. Mosquito control in outdoor aviaries is recommended during times when mosquito populations are high. Bird to bird transmission may occur as a result of the agent for this disease being moved from cage to cage by caretakers. Therefore, if this disease is suspected in an aviary, care should be taken to prevent dissemination.

We had originally hoped to get some help from the CDC, but with West Nile Virus spreading across the US, they have not worked on this problem.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. David N. Phalen, DVM


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