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Friday, 19 January, 2007

From the City of Austin:

Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department has determined that the likely cause of the recent bird deaths along Congress Avenue was a parasitic infection that predisposed the birds to illness when temperatures dropped. While more tests are under way, the determination of the cause of death by local officials resulted from a review of reports from two labs and consultation with animal health experts. On Jan. 8, 2007, a total of 63 birds were found dead in the Austin downtown area. Through preliminary tests at the scene, it was determined that there was no public health threat but the cause of deaths remained unknown. More extensive lab tests were ordered by health officials. Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station and the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, conducted multiple tests on a sampling of the birds. These tests have ruled out the following causes: avian influenza (bird flu); intentional and unintentional poisoning; West Nile Virus; and Exotic Newcastle’s Disease — a highly pathogenic, contagious and fatal disease affecting all avian species. A few additional tests are still pending. However, results of those tests are not expected to alter these conclusions.

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