Posted on August 6, 2014 at 12:21 PM
Updated Wednesday, Aug 6 at 5:20 PM
NORFOLK -- Three 28-day-old cassowary chicks died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis at the Virginia Zooin July, officials said Wednesday.
Two were found dead on the morning of July 17 and a third died later that afternoon despite intensive medical therapy. One of the parent birds has also died but test results have not been completed to determine a cause, zoo officials said.
Cassowaries are flightless birds native to the tropical forests of New Guinea, north-eastern Australia and area islands.
The chicks' father, along with a young male and a young female, are still at the zoo and have been vaccinated for the disease, officials told WVEC.com.
"All of the animals that are known to be susceptible to the disease were vaccinated at the beginning of mosquito season," said spokeswoman Meg Puckett. "This includes birds of prey, cranes, tapir, and all equids. The remaining three cassowary have also now been vaccinated."