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Geese Dying in Brunswick Georgia Cause Concern

Recombinomics Commentary

July 15, 2005

"It's something terrible," resident Tammy Bechtold said. "Their heads jerk (and they) can't walk straight. Most are dying in the pond."

At first glance, the gaggle of geese currently roaming the pond look healthy, but so did 16 others before something odd happened. Bechtold was the first person in the Brunswick development to notice the problem when she found two dead geese.

"They had babies, and babies were chirping or crying, wanting their parents," she said.

But it wasn't until the next day when six more geese died -- and seven more the day after -- that she started to pay attention.

The neurological symptoms in the dying geese in Brunswick, Georgia sound much like the dead bar headed geese at Qinghai Lake.  Initially the geese in Qinhai were said not to have bird flu, but tests identified H5N1 and all isolates had a PB2 E627K mutation associated with neurological variants of H5N1.

Since Qinghai Lake was at the intersection of the two may migratory bird flyways in Asia, the subsequent migration of the birds away from Qinghai Lake was cause for concerns.

Recently shearwaters were washing up on the east coast from Florida to Maryland and they two had neurological symptoms.

The die-off of geese in Georgia are ominously similar to the Qinghai bar headed goose situation in early May.

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