Officials puzzled by gulls' deaths ~ OBERLIN, Ohio (AP) Fall of 1997

More than 500 dead gulls have been found in Lorain County during the last several weeks and officials are trying to figure out what killed the birds.

Most of the gulls have been found in or near the 64-acre Oberlin Reservoir about 25 miles west of Cleveland. Many had inflamed and bloody intestines, but salmonella and other bacterial infections have been ruled out as the cause of death. The birds also were not poisoned by common farm and lawn pesticides, and screening of their brains found nothing unusual.

James J. Boddy, director of environmental health for the Lorain County Health District said no known diseases contracted by the gulls can be passed to humans. But he is worried by the deaths.

"We're concerned, with question," Boddy said, "We need to be concerned about what's happening to the wildlife and creatures around us."

Six of the ring-billed gulls are being examined at the National Wildlife Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Kimberli Miller, a wildlife disease specialist at the center, said she should know by next week if the gulls suffered from a viral infection. "

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