Washington, D.C. A brain-damaging disease that kills birds has been confirmed in Canada geese for the first time.

The U.S. Geological Survey says avian vacuolar myelinopathy has
been confirmed in a Canada goose found on J. Strom Thurmond Lake,
on the border of North and South Carolina. The disease, occurring
only in wintering areas, is thought to be caused by a toxin. In the
past, it has killed coots, ducks, and eagles in the South.

In affected birds, open spaces appear in the white matter of the
brain. While the brain damage in this disease sounds similar to
that caused by mad cow disease, the diseases are believed to have
different causes.

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