Killer disease strikes birds

A DEADLY disease is wiping out garden birds in Somerset. Parasitic disease Trichomoniasis is spreading across Britain and Somerset has been named as

A DEADLY disease is wiping out garden birds in Somerset.Parasitic disease Trichomoniasis is spreading across Britain and Somerset has been named as one of the hotspots in the country, with reports of dead birds in Cheddar, Axbridge and Wedmore.The parasite lives in the upper digestive tract and blocks the bird's throat, making it unable to swallow so the creature starves to death.Trichomoniasis is commonly found in pigeons but it is the first time the disease has targeted finches.The disease spreads through food bowls when birds eat food contaminated with the parasite.Kirsty Peck, spokeswoman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), said: "Somerset is one of two areas which have been particularly affected by the outbreak."If people see birds around showing symptoms of not being able to swallow food or with seeds stuck around their beak we are asking them to withdraw the food and wait for a couple of weeks."The RSPB is asking people to clean their feeders, bird baths and feeding surfaces to try to prevent the disease spreading.Birds with the disease are show signs of lethargy and have a fluffed-up plumage.They may also drool, regurgitate food and have difficulty swallowing and breathing.There is no cure for the illness and anyone who spots a bird with the condition is asked to call the RSPB on 01767 693690 or email wildlife@rspb.org.uk


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