Usutu Virus – Thousands of blackbirds got sick or died

Thousands of animals have already died from Usutu virus this year. According to the NABU Nature Conservation Union, this year is more than ever.

Conservationists are observing an increased occurrence of the Usutu virus that is dangerous for birds this year. Nationwide, more than 18,000 animals have died or fallen ill, said the Nature Conservation Union NABU. 

The Usutu virus originating from South Africa mainly affects blackbirds, in rarer cases also other bird species like song thrushes, titmice or finches. According to NABU, more birds are affected this year than ever before. The virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, first appeared in 2010 in southwestern Germany and has since spread further and further to the north. Where it appears new, it comes mainly with blackbirds to a mass extinction, said the NABU.

Usutu infections occur according to the conservationists, especially in late summer. This year, 8,881 suspicious transaction reports were received by NABU. 2345 reports refer to Lower Saxony, 1320 to Hamburg, 975 to Schleswig-Holstein and 357 to Bremen. About 400 reports were received nationwide per day.

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