Still no cause for mystery bird illness, 3 more counties added to list

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – In late May…the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife along with four other states began receiving reports of sick and dying birds.

Dr. Christine Casey, a wildlife veterinarian says there have been 1400 reports of dead or sick birds in Kentucky.

“It’s definitely an overestimate and it’s catching the baseline mortality, and we looked at it closer and reviewed all the reports and we’re thinking it’s closer to about 250 of those that are actually suspicious” said Dr. Casey.

The sick birds are reported to have swollen and crusty eyes and some neurological signs.

“The primary species that are still affected are going to be the same as the blue jays, the grackles, the starlings and robins, it does seem to be skewed towards juveniles” added Dr. Casey.

The counties that have had multiple reports of this illness have been Kenton, Jefferson and Boone…with an additional three added to the list on Friday.

The counties are Bullitt, Campbell and Madison.

“If you live in those counties, taking down your bird feeders is recommended, we’re hoping people will wash their bird feeders. So cleaning them out using good hygiene practices, the ten percent bleach solution for cleaning bird feeders and baths” added Dr. Casey.

As of Friday, July 2nd…the department still does not know the cause of the mystery illness but it does not seem to be affecting humans.

“There have been no reports of human health issues or illness related to this so right now it’s unlikely that it’s impacting humans or other domestic animals” said Dr. Casey.

More than 40 samples of the illness in Kentucky have been sent off to be tested…those results are pending.

Natural resource agencies in the affected states are working together to investigate the cause.

So far they have ruled out the following Salmonella and Chlamydia, Avian influenza virus, West Nile virus and other flaviviruses, Newcastle disease virus and other paramyxoviruses, herpesviruses and poxviruses; and Trichomonas parasites.

If you encounter a sick or dying bird you are asked to fill out this form.

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