Disease killing ducks, other birds at Washington state wildlife refuge

KENNEWICK, Wash. — An outbreak of avian cholera has killed about 500 birds at the McNary National Wildlife Refuge in south-central Washington this week.

The Tri-City Herald says crews on Thursday were at the refuge collecting dead birds.

Dan Haas of the Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex says the disease is not unusual in cold and wet weather but birds are susceptible this year because the cold and snow have left them stressed.

Most of the birds that have died are mallard ducks. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service workers also have found a few great blue herons, belted kingfishers and northern harriers, which are a bird of prey, that have died on the refuge.

A waterfowl specialist at the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife says the outbreak appears to be localized.

People are not at high risk of infection by the bacteria that causes avian cholera.

Categories: Waterfowl

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