The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it looks like a disease outbreak that killed a couple hundred ducks and geese on a northwest Iowa lake is under control. D.N.R. wildlife biologist, Bryan Hellyer, says the outbreak of avian cholera was found on Rush Lake in southwest Palo Alto County.
Hellyer says in his opinion this is a relatively small case with some 215 birds found dead. He says outbreaks in other states have led to the death of thousands of birds. Hellyer says they’ve been combating the spread of the disease by picking up the dead birds. He says the bacteria can be spread if the dead birds are left, and they are now down to looking for the dead birds once a week until they don’t find any fresh birds.
Hellyer says the number of birds impacted is small when compared to their overall numbers. Hellyer says Rush Lake had five to 10,000 birds using it, and he says there are very few marshes across the state, all the birds congregate at certain locations, depending on the weather and migration. Hellyer says birds most frequently become infected with avian cholera when feeding in waters contaminated with high numbers of the disease carrying bacterium or through direct contact with infected birds. He doesn’t think the outbreak at Rush Lake will spread.
Hellyer says they are surveying other areas near Rush Lake and are taking the correct measures to be sure it doesn’t spread. He says they don’t have big concerns that an outbreak will happen at other places. The dead birds started showing up the week of April 9th, and included a total of 16 species of ducks and geese.