Bird deaths not a public health risk


Redland City Council has recently received advice of cases of what is believed to be avian botulism, often termed limber neck, which has led to the deaths of a small number of water birds at Capalaba Regional Park.

Avian botulism can result from naturally occurring bacteria in ponds and lakes. This bacteria becomes toxic to birds when environmental conditions are favourable.

General Manager, Environment, Planning and Development, Toni Averay said members of the public do not need to be concerned.

“Avian botulism can affect birds and carrion eaters, such as eels and crows if they eat the affected birds, but it is not known to be a human public health risk.

“The likelihood of dogs and other pets contracting botulism through ingesting unwell birds or other animals is extremely low, and people can reduce the risk to their pets by keeping them on-leash and away from birds and other animals.”

Ms Averay said residents should contact Council on 3829 8999 if they see deceased bird life, so that the bird can be removed by Parks and Conservation officers.

“Please do not touch or attempt to remove any birdlife yourself.”

Current weather conditions are encouraging greater than usual amounts of this naturally occurring bacteria (Clostridium botulinum) commonly found in the soil of lakes and ponds.

Wildlife groups have also been alerted to these cases.

General information about botulism can be found on the Queensland Governments Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website at http://www.daff.qld.gov.au