Trichomonas kills greenfinches at feeding sites


<p>In autumn 2008 in Finland an increased death rate caused by the protozoan parasite of the genus <em>Trichomonas</em> was observed among greenfinches. July this year Food Safety Authority Evira was reported significant rates of mass deaths occurring among greenfinches. The deaths incidences reported have occurred southwest of a line stretching from Kalajoki to Porvoo.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

Feeding birds this summer should be stopped

Common to all cases is that they have been noted at sites for feeding birds or squirrels. These deaths particularly have occurred among greenfinches, but other species such as finches also have died. In most incidences involving greenfinches several tens have died in a few weeks. To avert spreading, feeding should be discontinued and water basins emptied and wiped dry. Feed leftovers must be collected and removed from each site.

Summer is the most favourable season for this parasite to propagate

In winters this disease mostly does not appear, as the cold kills off parasites present in the environments of the birds. The parasite does not infect people or other mammals, but birds held as pets or production may catch infections. Our country’s population of pigeons has since long been a carrier of Trichomonas. Individual pigeons die of infections from Trichomonas, but epidemics such as those observed among greenfinches have not been registered.

Protozoan Trichomonas gallinae exists as a parasite in the mouth and craw of birds

Among finch birds it may cause serious infections, why the birds will be unable to swallow in a normal manner. Weakened birds ultimately may die from starvation or, for example sepsis caused by secondary bacterial infections. The parasite is transmitted, for example at feeding and drinking sites, from bird to bird via secretion originating in the mouth.

Additional information:
Senior Researcher Perttu Koski, Fish and Wildlife Health Research Unit, perttu.koski,
tel. 02077 24903


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