Biological Hazard in USA – Salt Lake City

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    Wildlife officials say about 30 ducks have died in a Salt Lake City pond because of a potential outbreak of avian Botulism. Many of the dead ducks were pulled from the Liberty Park pond over the weekend and other ducks are showing signs of the disease. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Program Coordinator Justin Dolling says the ducks appear to be infected by an avian botulism toxin, which is often released from sediment during hot weather. Dolling says insects absorb the toxin and infect the birds that eat them. The Salt Lake Valley Health Department says avian botulism can pose a threat to humans or other animals if infected birds are handled extensively, such as a dog carrying a dead duck in its mouth.

    Biohazard name: Avian Butulism
    Biohazard level: 1/4 Low

    Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses including Bacillus subtilis, canine hepatitis, Escherichia coli, varicella (chicken pox), as well as some cell cultures and non-infectious bacteria. At this level precautions against the biohazardous materials in question are minimal, most likely involving gloves and some sort of facial protection. Usually, contaminated materials are left in open (but separately indicated) waste receptacles. Decontamination procedures for this level are similar in most respects to modern precautions against everyday viruses (i.e.: washing one’s hands with anti-bacterial soap, washing all exposed surfaces of the lab with disinfectants, etc). In a lab environment, all materials used for cell and/or bacteria cultures are decontaminated via autoclave.

    Status: confirmed

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