By: KDKA-TV News Staff
HARRISBURG (KDKA) – The Pennsylvania Game Commission is investigating more than 70 reports of a mysterious disease that is killing birds in large numbers in neighboring states.READ MORE: Allegheny County Health Director Says Delta Variant Is Fueling Rising Cases, Hospitalizations
The Game Commission and experts from the Wildlife Futures Program at Penn Vet are investigating dozens of reports of songbirds that are sick or dying because of an “emerging health condition” that’s currently unknown.
Symptoms include discharge or crusting around the eyes, eye lesions and neurological signs like falling over or head tumors. The affected birds are being tested for toxins, parasites, bacterial diseases, and viral infections, but so far there have been no inclusive results.
The reports in Pennsylvania have come from 27 eastern counties.
The mysterious deaths are raising alarm bells for the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.
They are urging people in Western Pennsylvania to take preventative steps in order to help contain the spread of any disease into our region.READ MORE: 'Itchy Mites:' Preventing Bites And The Itch That Comes With A Mite Bite
The Audubon Society, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, are urging people to remove their bird feeders from their yards until researchers can find out more about what’s causing the problem. The request includes hummingbird feeders, too.
Audubon Nature Stores will also be discontinuing the sale of bird feeders and seed for the time being.
If you see any sightings of birds that have died or seen with any of the symptoms, you’re encouraged to report them here.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, reports of the disease started in late May.
They say wildlife managers in Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia started getting “reports of sick and dying birds with eye swelling and crusty discharge.” They were also showing signs of neurological problems.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Temperatures Continue Rising On Thursday
In addition to Maryland and West Virginia, there are now reports of the disease in Ohio. All states surrounding Pennsylvania.