Two thousand mallard ducks in the state of Idaho, USA likely died after they
ate mouldy grain and contracted a fatal infection, according
Paul Slota, a wildlife expert with the US Geological Survey's National
Wildlife Health Center, said a fungal infection known as aspergillosis was the likely killer. "The results are
certainly consistent with that diagnosis," Slota said.
finding eased fears that the massive mallard die-off, which experts say is unprecedented in Idaho,
was linked to bird flu.
Potential sources of
An estimated 2,000 mallards died in less than a week time.
State fish and game officers retrieved carcasses from a stream clogged with dead
and dying mallards. The stream is surrounded by farmland and a cattle feedlot,
potential sources of the mouldy grain, officials said.
Concerns over the
deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu and an extensive national monitoring network
prompted officials to submit samples from Idaho to labs specializing in
detecting avian influenza and drew the US Department of Homeland Security into
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