Salmonella infection linked to bird baths causing sporadic bird deaths in Louisiana

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WINGELLO, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 06: A bird bath is surrounded by scorched grass on January 06, 2020 in Wingello, Australia. Cooler conditions and light rain has provided some relief for firefighters in NSW who continue to battle bushfires across the state. Army Reserve forces and other specialist capabilities have been called in to help with firefighting efforts across Australia, along with extra Defence ships and helicopters. 14 people have now died in the fires in NSW, Victoria and South Australia since New Year’s Eve. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WDSU) — A statewide Salmonella bacterial infection has caused the sporadic mortality of some wild birds, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced on Wednesday.

“Many of the deaths have been associated with bird feeders or birdbaths,” said LDWF State Veterinarian Dr. Jim LaCour said. “Typically, an infected bird has picked up the infection from either a bird feeder or birdbath. That, in turn, spreads the bacteria among other birds.’’

LaCour said when dead birds are observed, it is best to remove the feeder and/or birdbath and clean them with warm, soapy water and a 10% bleach solution and allow them to dry.

The department said bird feeders/baths should be stored, out of use, for two months to allow birds to seek other feeding sources to break the cycle of infection. Any contaminated bird feed should be discarded.

Bird carcasses should be picked up with a sealable plastic bag and disposed of in the trash to help minimize contamination of the landscape and infection of other animal species, according to The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

The department said Salmonella bacteria can be contagious to humans so it is best to wear rubber gloves when handling infected bird feeders/ baths and carcasses of dead birds and to clean feeders/baths outdoors and away from food preparation areas.

For more information or to report significant bird mortalities, please contact Dr. LaCour at

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