Field & Game Australia

Suspected Botulism Outbreak - Be Prepared

FGA have been advised that there is a suspected botulism outbreak affecting waterfowl habitat in the Buloke/Donald region.

While testing is still underway and confirmed results still to come, we're sharing this for our members who may have been planning scouting or hunting trips to the area.

Botulism can be potentially fatal, the disease is caused by a toxin which is produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium; severe botulism can lead to reduced movement of respiratory muscles which lead to breathing difficulty and respiratory failure. Initial symptoms may include double vision, loss of facial expression and weakness in facial muscles.

While the toxin can be destroyed by heating to 85°C for longer than 5 minutes, the bacterium will withstand these temperatures and may then re-produce the toxin even after heating (cooking) has occurred. Due to the possible risks, FGA advises avoiding wetlands where botulism breakouts are suspected or have been confirmed.

As the bacteria is often widespread in soil, requires warm temperatures and an oxygen-free environment, it's a reminder of how important healthy wetlands, with good dissolved oxygen levels, are for our waterfowl and other species.

FGA will keep you updated once we have more information to share.

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