Avian botulism reason for bird deaths near Sambhar Lake

News: The Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly, has confirmed that avian botulism as the reason for mass mortality of birds, at Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan.


About Avian botulism

  • It is a neuro-muscular illness caused by ingestion of toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
  • The bacteria is anaerobic in nature and is commonly found in the soil, rivers, lakes and sea water.
  • It multiplies in decaying plant or animal materials. The bacteria produces the toxin when it starts reproducing. It is often found in lakes in periods of anoxic conditions and poor water quality.
  • There are eight types (A, B, C1, C2, D, E, F, and G) of botulinum toxin and they are distinguishable when diagnosed.
  • Botulinum affects both humans and animals but the type of the toxin varies. Botulinum C affects birds and A, B and E affects humans. 

Additional Information:

Sambhar Lake

  • Sambhar Lake is India’s largest (230 sq.km) inland saltwater lake.
  • It spreads across Jaipur and Nagaur districts and also a part of Ajmer district in Rajasthan.
  • The lake receives water from five rivers Medtha, Samaod, Mantha, Rupangarh, Khari and Khandela.
  • Sambhar Lake was designated as a Ramsar site in 1990.
  • It is famous for salt production and is also an Important Bird Area (IBA)