Heat brings botulism to Flanders

Botulism has surfaced in Flanders as a result of the excessive heat.  The disease affects waterfowl.  Environmentalists have asked the public to alert the Nature Aid Centre when it is spotted.

At the weekend the Nature Aid centre received several calls about dead ducks on the Bocholt-Herentals Canal.  A score of dead ducks were retrieved in Sint-Huibrechts-Lille, Neerpelt and Overpelt.  All had died through botulism.

The centre's Stijn Meerschaert: "The disease surfaces after a long period of hot weather.  There is less oxygen in the water, water levels fall and organic refuse starts to rot.  The botulisme bacteria is given free rein."

Signs of botulism include paralysed limbs.  Towards death the animals can no longer hold their heads above the water and drown.  Sick animals are being treated at the centre.  They get antibodies, extra food, warmth and rest.