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Tasmania sparrow die-off and the possible connection with human salmonella infections

There is mounting concern about whether humans have caught a strain of salmonella discovered in Tasmania's sparrow population which is experiencing a notable decline.

"Four cases of the salmonella in humans this year has Australian investigators wondering if there may be a link between a wide spread die-off of sparrows in Tasmania and the human infections.

"An investigation by veterinarians, pathologists and the University of Tasmania's School of Medicine has found the bacteria is the likely cause of the deaths of large numbers of sparrows in recent months.

Bird watcher Sylvia McClay was one of the first to report the decline in the state's sparrow population.

"By about July/August the numbers were about half," she said.

Veterinarian Dr David Obendorf headed an investigation into the deaths. He found many of the dead sparrows were carrying a form of salmonella."


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