Learn key steps in the fight against Great Lakes type E botulism
URBANA - Beachgoers in the Great Lakes region may have noticed an increase in the number of birds and fish that have washed up along the shore in recent years. The primary culprit for these deaths, type E botulism, has been responsible for a growing mortality rate among the fish and bird populations that call the Great Lakes home. A new manual is available to help beach managers combat the spread of type E botulism and provide the public with steps to protect themselves and their pets.
Outbreaks, which may have happened along Chicago’s lakefront as recently as August, are believed to be caused when a variety of environmental factors occur at once, including warmer water temperatures, oxygen-deprived conditions, and a suitable source of nutrients. The botulism bacterium creates a toxin in these favorable conditions, which is then passed up the food chain as birds and fish consume animals already infected.
Type E Botulism Outbreaks: A Manual for Beach Managers and the Public provides a detailed look at the biology of the naturally occurring bacterium—Clostridium botulinum—that causes botulism,including where it occurs and how it is transmitted. The publication provides specific guidance for detecting and reporting infected animals, as well as the removal and handling of dead fish and waterfowl. And although type E botulism poses little threat to human health, the manual also describes basic handling and cooking precautions that consumers can follow to further reduce the risk to themselves.
“Early detection and quick responses can slow down, and potentially stop, the spread of the toxin,” said Kristin TePas, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) community outreach specialist. “It is important that beach managers and the general public are aware of the signs and symptoms of this disease and know what they can do to curb the spread.”
The manual was created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Program Office, assisted by IISG, to meet outbreak management needs identified at the 2008 Great Lakes Basinwide Coordination Workshop. For more information on efforts to strengthen botulism management and reduce the spread of the toxin, visit www.glrc.us/initiatives/botulism.
The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program is one of
more than 30 National Sea Grant College Programs. Created by Congress in
1966, Sea Grant combines university, government, business and industry
expertise to address coastal and Great Lakes needs. Funding is provided by
the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U. S. Department of
Commerce, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue
University at West Lafayette, Indiana.
The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program (IISG) is one of 32 National Sea Grant College Programs. Created by Congress in 1966, Sea Grant combines university, government, business and industry expertise to address coastal and Great Lakes’ needs. Funding is provided by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University at West Lafayette, Indiana. Visit the IISG blog at http://lakesideviews.blogspot.com. You can also find IISG on Facebook and Twitter.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
University of Illinois
1101 W. Peabody Drive
350 National Soybean Research Center, MC-635
Urbana, IL 61801
Ph: 217.333.6444 | Fax: 217.333.8046 | email@example.com