Avian cholera detected in wild waterfowl in Gibson County


GIBSON CO, Ind (WEHT) – Wildlife officials have confirmed the presence of avian cholera in geese in Gibson County.

Avian cholera poses minimal risk to humans and the commercial poultry industry, but it is common among North American waterfowl. This is the second time the disease has been documented in wild birds in Indiana.

Avian cholera is highly contagious among wild birds, especially waterfowl, and spreads through bird-to-bird contact, birds ingesting food and water containing the bacteria, and birds scavenging infected carcasses. Infected birds die quickly but people might see diseased geese exhibiting lethargy and abnormal behavior.

Animals known or suspected to be ill should not be consumed. Anyone who sees sick or dead wildlife in Indiana is encouraged to report it to the DNR using the online reporting application.

To help prevent the spread of avian cholera, waterfowl hunters in southwest Indiana should consider cleaning and disinfecting their gear, including waders and decoys, using warm, soapy water. Waterfowl hunters should also use gloves and avoid eating, drinking, or smoking when cleaning harvested birds, and thoroughly wash their hands afterward.

The incidence of disease appears to be relatively low, as only 176 snow geese have been found dead in Gibson County since the beginning of January, out of the tens of thousands of waterfowl that spend winter in that part of the state.

The DNR has increased surveillance of waterfowl populations throughout the state and is monitoring the mortality event in Gibson County.

(This story was originally published on March 2, 2021)

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