The DPIPWE Animal Health Laboratories at Mt Pleasant have identified salmonella bacteria in a number of sparrows from the Launceston area.
It is not uncommon to detect salmonella in wildlife, especially during the winter months when birds can be under stress and they congregate around common feeding and watering areas which can increase the transmission rate.
The member of the public who reported the dead sparrows is to be congratulated for alerting us to these suspicious deaths. It’s an important part of our biosecurity system that people report suspicious signs, including unexplained deaths, in wildlife or livestock – and do so promptly so we and the broader community can respond if it were an emergency animal disease.
In this case, we have been able to rule out it being an exotic disease. So there is no need for a response, as such. But it is timely to remind people about the basic biosecurity measures that they should take to help minimise the risk of transmission of this disease.
We advise people not to provide feed and watering points for wild birds and to clean watering points that may have been used up to this point. If dead birds are found around the yard, they should be promptly disposed of to ensure pets or other animals don’t come into contact with them.
People should also ensure they don’t expose themselves to the potential risk of infection as well by using disposable gloves if removing dead birds and when cleaning bird baths. You should also ensure your hands are washed thoroughly after contact.
People with captive bird populations should use methods to reduce contact between captive and wild bird populations and prevent other pets from wandering. We have a biosecurity checklist for bird keepers on our website.
Our Department is liaising with the Department of Health and Human Services about this matter.
Further information on human salmonella infection is available at http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/peh/infectious_diseases/salmonella
The all hours number for reporting any suspicion of an emergency animal (including fish and bird) disease is 1800 675 888.
8/08/2013 5:09:57 PM