(Charlottetown) The hundreds of crows found dead in a Charlottetown park earlier this winter likely died of a viral outbreak, researchers in Prince Edward Island say.
A dead crow was found to have contracted corvid orthovirus, which causes severe inflammation in the small and large intestines of infected crows and can quickly lead to death, said Laura Bourque of the Atlantic Veterinary College. from the University of Prince Edward Island in an interview on Wednesday.
She said it is highly likely that reovirus is responsible for all of the deaths.
“We haven’t seen it much here, but that doesn’t mean it’s surprising because it’s happening elsewhere in Canada and in the (United States),” she said. We’re pretty sure at this point that’s what’s going on with the downtown crows. »
Mme Bourque, who also works with the Canadian Wildlife Health Network, said the team investigating the deaths is trying to see if the virus can be detected in other dead birds that have been collected for testing. studies.
The virus, she added, is easily spread through droppings and other secretions as crows roost in densely populated areas during winter. She said corvid orthovirus is a relatively common cause of crow mortality in northeastern North America.
Earlier this winter, residents began noticing the dead birds in downtown Charlottetown.
Researchers don’t have much to do because the disease is virtually incurable, Ms.me Bourque, adding that the outbreak will continue to be monitored as it evolves. Anecdotal evidence from area residents suggests fewer crows have been found dead in recent weeks, she added.
Once the outbreak subsides, she estimates the crow population in Charlottetown will rebound over the next two years.
Locals should be careful not to handle bird carcasses, and report any dead birds to regional wildlife authorities, she said. The risk of the disease passing from crows to humans is very low, added Mr.me Bourque.
This dispatch was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook Grants and The Canadian Press for the news.