“Terribly scary” epidemic of blindness and deaths in birds—phenomenon is spreading—increasing reports in DC-metro of sick, blind, injured, dead birds. I’m also seeing reports as far as New York of dead/blind birds—many 🐦species affected. Unknown cause.🧵
2) “Eye issues were reported in what otherwise looked like healthy juvenile birds, causing blindness and the birds to land and stay on the ground,” said the Animal Welfare League of Arlington in a statement. awla.org/animal-control…
3) “Animal Control is now seeing additional species of birds affected. Other agencies and localities across the region and state are reporting similar issues.”
4) City Wildlife, a wildlife rehab nonprofit in Washington, said on its blog that the eye issues lead to “blindness and neurological problems affecting the birds’ balance and coordination. Other agencies reporting the same, as well as many dead fledglings. citywildlife.org/city-wildlife-…
5) “City Wildlife and other agencies in surrounding states have submitted samples to appropriate pathology laboratories and are awaiting results of those tests—we take this matter very seriously… to mount an effective response to this avian emergency.” washingtonpost.com/local/dead-bir…
6) “It’s terribly scary. It’s horrifying particularly because we don’t know what this is. . . . We don’t know how to treat it. We don’t know how to save these birds.”
7) The Post also shared social media posts from the public about dead and dying birds:
“Dead birds?!” reads a post on the Nextdoor site. “Has anyone had a sudden increase of dead birds in their yard? We found one dying in our backyard a week ago, one dead in our front yard…”
8) “this week and our neighbors have also reported dead birds over the last week or so.”

What follows are more than 145 comments, all from people in the Washington region. Many contain descriptions of disturbing avian encounters that have happened in recent weeks.
9) “A blue jay died in our yard a few weeks ago. It was acting strangely, like it couldn’t move its feet. It’s mate was trying to help — it was sad… tried to pick it up with gloves, and just suddenly died. We thought it had been poisoned because it had no wounds & seemed dazed”
10) Some people commenting on Facebook and elsewhere speculate that people are spraying chemicals to deal with the current cicada emergence and that may be impacting the birds….
11) There is absolutely no reason to spray cicadas, as the Animal Welfare League of Arlington said on Twitter:
12) Wildlife experts in Washington, D.C., and nearby states say they have not identified the cause of recent deaths of many birds in the region, but they are encouraging the public to temporarily cease feeding birds at feeders.
13) In late May, wildlife managers and rehabbers in Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia began receiving reports of sick and dying birds with eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs.
14) The DC Dept of Energy and Environment, Maryland Dept of Natural Resources, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Virginia Dept of Wildlife Resources, and National Park Service are continuing to work with diagnostic laboratories to investigate the cause of mortality.
15) A report on the National Wildlife Health Center’s WHISPers site, which summarizes incidents of wildlife illnesses and mortality, shows 37 dead or sick birds — Common Grackles, Blue Jays, American Robins, and European Starlings — from several counties in Virginia on May 20.
16) Birds congregating at feeders and baths can transmit disease to one another. Therefore, the state and district agencies recommend that the public in the outbreak area:
•Cease feeding birds until this wildlife mortality event has concluded;
17) … •Clean feeders and bird baths with a 10% bleach solution;
•Avoid handling birds, but wear disposable gloves if handling is necessary; and
•Keep pets away from sick or dead birds as a standard precaution.
18) If you encounter sick or dead birds, please contact your state or district wildlife conservation agency. If you must remove dead birds, place them in a sealable plastic bag to dispose with household trash.
19) “When something is happening on a large scale in nature, it’s frightening to think about,” she says. “I’m worried this is the canary in the coal mine.”

20) On Tuesday, I spoke with Megan Kirchgessner of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources over email about the issue. She said the department has received numerous reports of birds showing ocular problems and exhibiting signs of weakness and possible neurological issues.
21) “The volume of reports and clinical signs are not suggestive of something that we have seen routinely in this area, so we may be dealing with an emerging or novel issue,” she said.
22) “some people had theorized that residents who were spraying cicadas with pesticides may be causing the problem. Kirchgessner said that “pesticide use is on the differential list” but that testing is needed to know whether the cause is bacterial, viral or exposure to a toxin.
23) Jim Monsma is the executive director of City Wildlife. He has 25 years of experience in the animal protection field in the Washington area — and he’s concerned about what’s happening to the birds.
“It’s terribly scary,” he says.
24) “It’s horrifying particularly because we don’t know what this is. . . . We don’t know how to treat it. We don’t know how to save these birds.”
The center has collected more than 40 samples, and sent 3 to be tested for West Nile virus. The results came back negative.
25) The weird thing is that it’s been 3 weeks, and still no cause ID. Testing to find infectious culprit shouldn’t take this long. That said, toxicology of chemicals can sometimes be slow.

We do know we are poisoning our planet. I hope we learn that soon, before more of this ⬇️
26) Gosh — similar blind bird phenomenon now found recently in Ohio as well. But not sure if cicadas can be really blamed yet. I’m hearing reports in NYC too—few cicadas in NYC. wlwt.com/amp/article/de…
27) "It's not impossible that it's not cicada related. But it's not overly likely," Banbury said.

➡️ Dead birds are showing up in large numbers across the Cincinnati area—the birds appear to have neurological issues or vision problems. 👀

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More from @DrEricDing

14 Jun
⚠️New CDC warning on rising RSV again. Coincided with dropping of mask mandates & usage. ➡️ “The CDC is issuing this health advisory to notify clinicians and caregivers about increased interseasonal respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity across parts of the Southern US.” 🧵 Image
2) CDC: “Due to this increased activity, CDC encourages broader testing for RSV among patients presenting with acute respiratory illness who test negative for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. RSV can be associated with severe disease in young children and older adults”
3) “RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under one year of age in the United States. Infants, young children, and older adults with chronic medical conditions are at risk of severe disease from RSV infection.
Read 7 tweets
14 Jun
So, vaccines good against hospitalizations, yes, but not when just 1 dose against #DeltaVariant, not when <50% fully vaxxed. Despite new controversial case-control efficacy study (very small & assumption laden)—🇬🇧hospital #COVID19 surges just don’t lie.🧵 assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/upl… Image
2) Note how much weaker 1 dose is versus 2 doses for the #DeltaVariant for both infection and hospitalization. ImageImage
3) What is the first clue the new controversial study is unreliable? The Pfizer 2 dose results aren’t even significant due to wide 95% CIs. Second, the 1 dose is stronger than 2 dose for Pfizer? Hog wash. We know that’s not true and opposite. This is why this study unreliable. Image
Read 4 tweets
14 Jun
Masks are coming off—the cold and flu is now back. Coincidence? No. The CDC just issued a health advisory about increased cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, across parts of the southern US — something CDC hadn’t seen since April 2020. #MaskOn
2) RSV is a cold-like respiratory illness that produces symptoms similar to COVID, and can cause severe illness in older adults and young children. It disappeared for a year because of #COVID19 mitigations. It’s now back because masks are coming off, especially in the South.
3) Since the state’s mask mandate was lifted at the end of May, face coverings have started to come off — and stay off. But according to infectious diseases doctors, the return of facial freedom might come with some downsides, like a resurgence in cases of the common cold and flu
Read 10 tweets
14 Jun
So a controversial #DeltaVariant study did not find a sig 2-dose effect for Pfizer, yet still claims a significant efficacy. It also claims AstraZeneca hospitalization relative risk is lower than Pfizer—opposite last week—also from weak case control design—wouldn’t bank on it. 🧵 Image
2) This (left photo) is the standard VE formula. Yet this (right photo) is the modified calculation of VE used in this study. It requires a completely diff set of assumptions and then mashes the two different sets of numbers together. ImageImage
3) there are many assumptions in order for their formula. It’s very risky and tricky.

“Biased [vaccine efficacy] effect-size estimates arise if either condition is unmet.”

pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30099505/ Image
Read 5 tweets
14 Jun
⚠️Annoyed—the US CDC still does **not seem to classify the #DeltaVariant as a “Variant of Concern”**!! #B16172 is still merely “variant of interest” on @CDCgov website, updated just this weekend. Both @WHO & 🇬🇧 upgraded Delta to VOC weeks ago. CDC act now! cdc.gov/coronavirus/20… Image
2) Because this is what new cases of #DeltaVariant #COVID19 is doing in the UK 🇬🇧… US 🇺🇸 is a trouble if don’t act now
3) Is #DeltaVariant growing quickly in the Us? Yes. Hell yes. Yet CDC doesn’t rate it a VOC.
Read 10 tweets
14 Jun
Good news—Novavax protein-subunit vaccine phase 3 trial shown to to be 90.4% effective overall, 100% against moderate to severe disease. This is different type from mRNA and from AZ/J&J adenovirus vaccines, and different from inactivated types. #COVID19
2) Here is a good refresher on how the Novavax vaccine works. nytimes.com/interactive/20…
3) The protein units of the spike are harvested and then assembled together. There is no virus—just proteins linked together.
Read 5 tweets

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