A ProMED-mail post
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International Society for Infectious Diseases <http://www.isid.org>

Date: Fri 10 Jun 2011
From: Richard Irvine

PRO/AH/EDR> Duck viral enteritis - UK: (England) swans, susp, RFI
In response to the recent posting (subject as above) and RFI, we are
pleased to be able to provide the following:

During winter 2011 more than 150 Mute Swans (_Cygnus olor_) died on
the River Thames due to infections, probably exacerbated by the severe
weather experienced in the UK at that time.

A swan rescue organisation and representatives of Her Majesty The
Queen found carcases at a number of locations along the River Thames
between January and March 2011.

Post-mortem examinations and other associated laboratory
investigations performed by the Animal Health and Veterinary
Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) on 40 swan carcases confirmed several
diagnoses, including Duck Virus Enteritis (DVE) and Necrotic
Enteritis. No evidence of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza
(HPAI) virus infection was detected.

Interested readers are directed to a summary of this and other mass
mortality incidents in wild water birds in England where there were
associations with the prolonged freezing weather during winter 2011
(Duff and others, 2011). These investigations concluded that the
deaths were probably due to a wide range of infectious and
non-infectious causes and starvation. A number of other Mute Swan
mortality incidents have also been investigated in different locations
in Great Britain during this winter. DVE was diagnosed from a number
of these cases following post-mortem examination and virus isolation.

Mass mortality incidents are rarely associated with a risk to human
health, but it is important that H5N1 HPAI virus infection is
excluded, as in these cases. Continued reporting and investigation of
mass mortality events is important to understand the causes and to
ensure that any potential risk to public or animal health is

Information about reporting mass mortalities of wild birds in Great
Britain can be found at:

In addition, details of laboratory confirmed cases of DVE in
waterfowl are available in previous 'Wildlife Disease in the UK'
reports to the OIE. These are available on the VLA website:
<http://vla.defra.gov.uk/reports/rep_wildlife.htm>. DVE is recorded
in 2005 (page 34), 2006 (page 44) and 2007 (page 20).

The AHVLA's investigations were performed as part of the Defra-funded
AHVLA Diseases of Wildlife Scheme and the avian influenza wild bird
survey, part of the Great Britain Wildlife Disease Surveillance
<http://vla.defra.gov.uk/reports/rep_surv_wildlife.htm>. [The Jan-Mar
2011 report, indeed including data on the identification, in dead
swans, of DVE among other agents, is available at

Duff and others, (2011). Water bird mortality associated with
freezing winter weather and disease. Veterinary Record;168:593

Richard Irvine BVetMed MSc(CIDA) MRCVS
Deputy Head, Avian Virology, EU/OIE/FAO International Reference
Laboratory for Avian Influenza & Newcastle disease, AHVLA-Weybridge,
New Haw, Surrey, UK
GB Avian Influenza Wild Bird Surveillance project lead

AHVLA - Penrith, Merrythought, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 9RR
AHVLA Diseases of Wildlife Scheme project lead

Paul Holmes BVSc MSc(WAH) MRCVS
AHVLA - Shrewsbury, Kendal Road, Harlescott, Shrewsbury, Shropshire,

Alex Barlow BVSc MSc MRCVS
AHVLA - Langford, Langford House, Langford, Bristol, BS40 5DX
Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA)

Richard Irvine, BVetMed MSc(CIDA) MRCVS

[Dr Irvine and his colleagues are gratefully acknowledged for this
exhaustive, authoritative and immediate response to our RFI.

Subscribers are encouraged to visit the indicated VLA web-site, where
annual 'WILDLIFE DISEASES IN THE UK' reports for the years 2002 - 2007
are available, including data on badgers, marine mammals etc. Of the
44 OIE reportable wildlife diseases, 12 have been recorded in UK
wildlife. - Mod.AS]

[see also:
Duck viral enteritis - UK: (England) swans, susp, RFI 20110609.1748
Avian influenza (26): Pakistan (Sindh), UK (England), swan
Avian influenza (13): UK (England), swan, Bangladesh (Barisal)
Avian influenza - worldwide (84): Czech Rep., UK (Scotland), Myanmar
Avian influenza, poultry vs migratory birds (03) 20060222.0578
Undiagnosed deaths, swans - UK (Lancashire) 20060131.0314]

Date: Mon 13 Jun 2011
From: Mark Stidworthy <M.Stidworthy@izvg.co.uk> [edited]

Re: ProMED-mail Duck viral enteritis - UK: (England) swans 20110609.1748, 20110610.1771
In addition to the cases reported here in swans, we have noted an above average number of cases of DVE [duck viral enteritis] this season [2011], occurring sporadically in both swans and ducks, within a number of different bird collections and zoos to which we provide diagnostic services. As is typically the case in these collections, deaths are usually isolated events or affect only a very small number of birds. Birds have had the classical gross and/or histological lesions. Additional diagnostics were not pursued. Mass mortality events due to DVE are not typical in these collections, some of which have had occasional cases around this time of year in previous years.

Mark Stidworthy MA VetMB PhD FRCPath MRCVS Veterinary Pathologist International Zoo Veterinary Group Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD21 4NQ UK <M.Stidworthy@izvg.co.uk>

[Dr Stidworthy is gratefully acknowledged for the complementary, firsthand information.

Duck virus enteritis (DVE) is included in OIE's list of notifiable animal diseases.

UK's annual reports to the OIE indicated DVE's absence in 2005; no information on the disease was included in later annual reports.- Mod.AS]

[see also:
Duck viral enteritis - UK (02): (England) swans 20110610.1771 Duck viral enteritis - UK: (England) swans, susp, RFI 20110609.1748] .................................................arn/mj/mpp/ll
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