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Sutty

Five Minnesota lakes closed because of avian disease

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From the Strib------

"Closed" signs are being prepared for certain islands and lake access points within five Minnesota lakes, state conservation officials said today, because birds from these lakes were confirmed to have virulent Newcastle disease.

The virus, which already has killed more than 1,200 double-crested cormorants this summer in Minnesota, has been confirmed at Minnesota Lake, Pigeon Lake, Lake of the Woods, Marsh Lake and Lake Kabetogama. State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials are waiting for results from Lake Mille Lacs.

Counties affected or potentially affected by the closed areas include Meeker, Faribault, Mille Lacs, Cass, St. Louis (in the Voyageurs National Park area), Lake of the Woods and Lac Qui Parle.

Closed signs in these areas should be in place by the end of the week.

The disease can be transmitted via contaminated clothing and equipment, and infected birds can spread the virus through direct contact as well as through their feces and excretions, the DNR said. Newcastle disease is not a major concern for humans, although it may cause a mild conjunctivitis and flu-like symptoms.

Clinical signs of Newcastle disease in avian species are frequently neurological, such as droopy heads and paralyzed wings and legs. Nestlings and juvenile birds are most susceptible. Mortality rates in wild species can vary greatly, with double-crested cormorants most commonly affected.

PAUL WALSH

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I didn't comment on that because I felt a little discombobulated while trying to figure that out....

Hang on I'll call the DNR

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Did anyone notice... the avian species that will be most affected is the cormorant... some will celebrate for sure.

I would suspect, but do not know for sure, that the lakes will be closed entirely for some amount of time, since it can be transmitted via equipment (boats) and clothing (swimsuits) and anyone could be using any access to enter/exit. They also use the term "virulent" (as opposed to nonvirulent strain) which indicates moderate or high mortality and transmission capability.

I personally wonder how this will be contained when contaminated birds can spread it easily via p00p to other lakes before they are disabled/paralyzed, and so many people simply don't wash their boats and wells between using in different lakes. I also wonder what kind of heartiness this virus has - will freezing kill it?

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I live on Kab and the lake is not closed and I look forward to great fall fishing.

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I live on Kab and the lake is not closed and I look forward to great fall fishing.

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I live on Kab and the lake is not closed and I look forward to great fall fishing.

I hope it stays that way!

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Did anyone notice... the avian species that will be most affected is the cormorant... some will celebrate for sure.

OK, I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but here goes . . .

Just one of the tools in nature's intricate balancing act. Anytime a population gets too dense for the area it inhabits, it becomes more prone to disease spreading throughout the population. Thus acheiving the thinning of the population that is needed.

Of course other factors can also contribute to the thinning such as not enough food for the oversized population. This can lead to starving or weakness which also makes the individual more susceptible to disease.

And you're RIGHT Fed, the only thing I feel bad about with this disease affecting about 30% of the state's Cormorants is that I'd like to see it affect about 70% of them.

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Just got an email from the National Park and it was a mistake that Kab was on there. The park will not be closed along with islands or accesses. The media and DNR should get there facts straight before putting this stuff out to the public.

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From:

Kathleen Przybylski

Management Assistant/Administrative Officer

Voyageurs National Park

Hello Everyone, (Kabetogama Lake Association Members)

I am sorry that the DNR news release has created so much turmoil for all of you. The park was not aware of the news release. We are as surprised as you are. The park has no plans to close any islands or lake access to Kabetogama. I have been spreading this word to the media outlets that I have been able to contact.

I talked to the Star Tribune reporter, Paul Walsh, who subsequently updated his online article and removed Lake Kabetogama from the list of areas closing.

I sent an email to Channel 5 with a new statement for them to run at the bottom of the screen. I will only know if it is used if someone happens to see it and lets me know.

I have left messages with folks at the DNR, but have not heard back yet.

I spoke with the Daily Journal reporter and explained to her that we are not closing any islands or access to Kabetogama.

The Daily Journal (I. Falls) reporter just called me and said that the Associated Press had just released an article with the incorrect information and gave me a contact phone number. I called the AP and the man I spoke to recorded my corrected information and was going to follow up with the DNR about the

incorrect closure information.

We try hard to work with the DNR so I don't want this to impact our relationship with them, but they really caught us off guard.

Mike Ward, Superintendent, is on travel but is aware of the situation. He supports all the actions I have taken so far.

Steve Windels, park biologist, plans to write a follow-up news release about Kab's cormorant population specifically, but hasn't been able to get to it. I expect him to have time next week to give me an update. He's out of the office this week.

Test results did find the disease in a small number of the park' cormorants on Kabetogama, but not to the degree as it was found on the other lakes. The park does not feel that it is an issue at this point. Once Steve, Mike and others return to the office we will re-group and come up with a plan for distributing more information.

Please feel free to call me if you have any questions or suggestions.

Kathleen

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

*

Kathleen Przybylski

Management Assistant/Administrative Officer

Voyageurs National Park

3131 Highway 53

International Falls, MN 56649

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I guess for the latest news you better come to this site and disregard the newspaper smile

Thanks for the update.

I wonder if the same holds true for LOW then as well.

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It appears they are closing certain islands from people, and posting signs on the islands and at the accesses. Not closing the accesses, I hope. It's not totally clear, but that is my take on it from this....

The other articles I read were poorly written and sounded like the lakes were getting shut down.

From the DNR HSOforum.

News Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Watch for island closings caused by Newcastle disease (September 10, 2008)

Don’t be too surprised if you see “closed” signs on certain islands and lake access points within five Minnesota lakes. Birds from these lakes were confirmed to have virulent Newcastle disease, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

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Now that we know what the cause was for the die off. How do we get the other 200,000 birds infected.

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From:

Kathleen Przybylski

Management Assistant/Administrative Officer

Voyageurs National Park

The park has no plans to close any islands or lake access to Kabetogama. I have been spreading this word to the media outlets that I have been able to contact.

I talked to the Star Tribune reporter, Paul Walsh, who subsequently updated his online article and removed Lake Kabetogama from the list of areas closing.

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I throw up the white flag, my most recent call back told me to call the DNR where I started... It was a new number though.

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I throw up the white flag, my most recent call back told me to call the DNR where I started... It was a new number though.

They have it planned that way trust me!

They make you RUN in circles (Jump through Hoops) for a Answer to a simple question

and then wonder why the average Joe Gets P!ssed Off.

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September 15, 2008

For Immediate Release

Steve Windels, 218-283-6692

UPDATE ON CASE OF NEWCASTLE DISEASE IN VOYAGEURS NATIONAL PARK

Voyageurs National Park initiated a study investigating aspects of double-crested cormorant ecology in Lake Kabetogama in June 2008. During the course of routine monitoring on July 21 & 22, 2008, NPS staff and collaborators encountered several cormorant chicks displaying behaviors similar to those of infected birds reported in other parts of the state earlier that week. At Voyageurs a single chick was euthanized and submitted to the U.S.G.S. National Wildlife Health lab on July 22, 2008 for testing. Voyageurs National Park received test results on August 12, 2008 from the Wildlife Health Lab confirming the presence of avian paramyxovirus-1 , the virus that can cause Newcastle Disease in birds. Tests for West Nile virus and avian influenza were negative.

Newcastle Disease is not a major concern for humans. The disease can be transmitted via contaminated clothing and equipment, and infected birds can spread the virus through direct contact as well as through their feces and excretions, potentially resulting in conjunctivitis or mild influenza (flu-like) symptoms in humans.

Voyageurs National Park staff, after consulting with wildlife health officials from various State and Federal agencies, have made the decision to not close access to the colony on Lake Kabetogama because of the limited risk to humans. The island supporting the cormorant colony is a small rock outcrop with no trees that receives almost no visitation by park visitors because of the often strong smell produced by the bird feces present on the island.

Approximately 140-150 nesting pairs of cormorants were recorded on the colony this summer, compared to a high of 330 recorded in 2005. NPS staff and collaborators estimate that <25% of the chicks hatched this summer succumbed to the disease. Few adult cormorants or other birds inhabiting the island, such as ring-billed gulls and American white pelicans, were observed either dead or showing clinical symptoms of the disease, suggesting that the outbreak in Voyageurs National Park was more limited than in other areas of Minnesota.

For more information contact Steve Windels, Terrestrial Ecologist, at 218-283-6692.

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Pigeon Lake has a sign at the access that says, "access restricted - Authorized personnel only"

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