More than 200 dead shelducks have washed up on the Walcheren coastline since Monday 9 August. No further shelducks have been found over the past 2 weeks. An investigation into the cause of death in the shelducks has revealed that botulism played a role in their deaths. The Dutch Wildlife Health Centre came to this conclusion in cooperation with Wageningen Bioveterinary Research.
Botulism in waterfowl usually occurs during hot weather. The consequences are frequently fatal, and the disease can lead to a high fatality rate in a brief period. The investigation was unable to ascertain whether other relevant causes could have played a role. The specific botulism type found (Type C), is not harmful to humans. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (VWA) established earlier that avian influenza was not involved.