Thursday, September 22, 2011

Deadly bird disease trichomonosis 'spreads to Europe'

A disease that is killing greenfinches and chaffinches in the UK has now spread to Europe, scientists report.

A paper in the journal Ecohealth confirms that the disease has been found in Finland, Norway and Sweden and is at risk of moving further afield.

The disease, called trichomonosis, is caused by a parasite and was first seen in finches in the UK in 2005.

Since then, the country's greenfinches have declined by 35% and chaffinch populations have fallen by 7%.

Becki Lawson, a wildlife veterinarian at the Zoological Society for London (ZSL) and lead author of the paper, said: "Trichomonosis has emerged as a very serious threat to these birds, so it is very important that vets and ornithologists collaborate to determine whether we might see further spread and to monitor the impact of the parasite on wild bird populations across Europe." more