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Migratory Birds Die in Sambhar Lake and Avian Botulism

Posted on : 23 Jan 2020

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  • Nearly 17,000 migratory birds have died so far at the country’s largest inland saltwater lake near Jaipur due to botulism, a serious and fatal illness that affects the nerves.
  • In November 2019, thousands of birds, including Northern Shoveler, Ruddy Shelduck, Plovers, Avocets, were found were found dead in the 5-7km area around Sambhar lake.
  • Initially, it was suspected that the birds died due to avian flu but the report from a laboratory in Bhopal has ruled this out. The birds died due to infection spread after feeding on maggots-infested carcasses. This causes paralysis in birds. The symptoms indicate that the cause of death was botulism

Avian Botulism

  • Avian botulism is a serious neuromuscular illness of birds caused by a toxin that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
  • Avian botulism has been recognized as a major cause of mortality in wild-birds since the 1900s.
  • Botulinum is a natural toxin produced by bacteria known as Clostridium botulin. It produces the toxin when it starts reproducing.
  • The bacteria is commonly found in the soil, river, and sea water. There are around eight types — A, B, C1, C2, D, E, F, and G — of botulinum toxin and they are distinguishable when diagnosed. But all types of toxins attack the neurons, which leads to muscle paralysis.
  • Botulinum affects both humans and animals but the type of the toxin varies — botulinum C in birds and A, B and E in humans.


Article Related Questions

  1. Consider the following statements regarding the recent deaths of migratory birds in Sambhar Lake:
    1.The deaths of these birds have been due to botulism.
    2.Botulism is a serious bacterial neuromuscular illness that occurs only in birds.
    3.Sambhar Lake is India’s largest inland saltwater lake.
    Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  2. 1.1 only

    2.1 and 2 only

    3.1 and 3 only

    4.1, 2 and 3

    Right Ans : 1 and 3 only

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