Mortality in Seabirds (fwd)

woodall at WADSWORTH.ORG woodall at WADSWORTH.ORG
Wed Nov 9 16:23:50 EST 1994

>Date: Tues.8 Nov.1994
> I have received a report of an increase in mortality in a colony of 
>> Wedge-tailed Shearwaters (Puffinus pacificus) on Christmas Island, 
>> Kiribati, in the Central Pacific.  This is only one of 18 species which 
>> nest on the island and it is estimated that hundreds of birds are dying 
>> daily.  Only limited information is available from the wildlife warden 
>> and access is difficult so no PM info is available as yet.  A 
>> veterinarian on Tarawa is trying to visit asap.
>> Does anyone on the net have any information relating to similar 
>> occurrences elsewhere?  Are there any ardent birdwatchers / shearwater 
>> specialists who would be interestyed in assisting?  Does anyone have 
>> access to any funds to facilitate such an investigation?  All help 
>> gratefully received
>> Peter Saville
>> Animal Health Advisor
>> South Pacific Commission
>> Suva, Fiji


I have been very glad to pass on your messages, if only because I
then see them. But anyone wanting to contact Peter Saville directly,
his email address is:

	saville at

It was on the original transmission from Fiji.


PS: my in-house avian pathologist's first response to this information
was that it was probably an orthomxovirus as these are not uncommon in 
such circumstances, plus there was a similar recent die-off of terns in an
island colony off South Africa from this cause.

#2 possibility was  Pasturella, 'cos of the crowding and breeding stress.
There are not many laboratories wanting to handle the former because of
Martin Hugh-Jones
World Health Organization Collaborating Center for reference and training
in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems
for Veternary Public Health

School of Veterinary Medicine
Louisiana State University

internet: mehj2020 at

Since we have Australian & S. African microbilogists on the virology net, I
thought we might get some feedback by posting this.


Dr John P. Woodall, Director, Arbovirus Lab., NY State Health Dept., Albany
e-mail: woodall at
phone: (518) 869-4525
fax:   (518) 869-6029

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