Avian cholera blamed for bird deaths in central Kansas



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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Wildlife officials say a bacterial disease that spreads so quickly that birds can die while in flight is to blame for the deaths of hundreds of waterfowl in central Kansas.

Roughly 1,100 dead birds have been found over the past two weeks at the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and the nearby Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Cheyenne Bottoms' manager says the vast majority of those succumbed to avian cholera.

The decades-old disease doesn't pose much of a threat to humans. But among birds, it's a convulsion-inducing illness that comes on quickly and can even kill them midflight.

Since 1983, Kansas had had 10 outbreaks. The latest one is second only to the roughly 5,000 birds that died of it in 1998 in north-central Kansas near the Nebraska line.

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Jim Suhr

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