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New York Crow Die-Off Linked to Avian Virus

by 5m Editor
4 January 2008, at 10:40am

NEW YORK - A mysterious die-off of hundreds of crows throughout New York has been linked to the avian reovirus, a pathogen that has threatened the poultry industry in the past, relentlessly sweeping through flocks, state wildlife officials said Thursday.

The virus is a bird pathogen and is not likely to jump the species barrier to cause infections in humans. However, state health officials are taking no chances and scientists at Wadsworth Laboratory, a division of the State Health Department, are studying the virus.

State wildlife pathologist Ward Stone, who was instrumental nearly a decade ago in identifying the pathogen that turned out to be the West Nile virus, said the sudden sweep of death among crows has caught scientists by surprise.

"Initially, I didn't know what it was," Stone told Newsday Thursday. "You really don't know until you do the post-mortem examinations," he said, which include preliminary viral typing. Additional specimens are being sent to a federal wildlife laboratory in Madison, Wis., which is expected to provide further molecular details about the strain.

Source: Newsday

5m Editor