Mystery illness killing birds in six states

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has issued an advisory regarding an illness in birds.

The illness has only been confirmed in Jefferson, Kenton and Boone counties in Kentucky, but has also been reported in five other states, including Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio, as well as Washington D.C.

The illness remains a mystery, but is known to cause sickness and death in blue jays, common grackles and European starlings, but may also affect other birds. Symptoms include eye swelling with crusty discharge and neurological signs.

Residents statewide are advised to immediately clean bird feeders with a 10 percent bleach solution, and then to clean them weekly thereafter.

They are also advised to avoid handling birds, but to wear disposable gloves if necessary, and to keep pets away from sick or dying birds.

Residents in the three affected counties are also asked to stop feeding birds until further notice.

If you encounter a sick or dying bird, you are asked to report it to Fish and Wildlife on the agency’s website,