Dead ducks at The Crossings had bird flu, lab reports

COLONY – An epidemic of bird flu in wild and domestic birds has reached The Crossings town park, where lab tests have determined birds are dying from the illness.

Colony closed off the walking paths and waterfront near the pond, where dead and dying waterfowl were found last week. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory tested the remains of several birds and determined they had been infected with HPAI, known as avian influenza. Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses, HPAI, cause severe disease and high mortality in infected poultry, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

“The avian bird flu is highly contagious between birds but hard for humans to catch,” Colonie officials wrote in an announcement.

The CDC says that humans can catch it if they handle infected birds or surfaces contaminated by the birds.

The virus spread from wild birds to domestic birds this winter, leading to an epidemic that began in February, Cornell Cooperative Extension officials said in a report in April. In three months, it led to the deaths of more than 10,000 domestic birds in six counties, and Cornell staff advised owners to keep their birds away from wild birds and their feces.

The state has said that those who are hunting should only harvest birds that appear healthy. They also should cook game meat being eaten to an internal temperature of 165 degrees, which kills the virus.

For now, The Crossings walking paths around the pond and the waterfront area will remain closed, town Supervisor Peter Crummey said.

The park itself is still open, but he asked visitors to stay away from waterfowl and avoid their feces. Visitors should also never feed waterfowl.

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